HomeRegional NewsEast AfricaEvaluating Africa’s small hydropower potential

Evaluating Africa’s small hydropower potential

These stats were tabled by the chairperson of the Hydropower Sector Energy Association of Rwanda and CEO of East African Power, Dan Klinck, while speaking at a technical workshop focused on small hydropower opportunities hosted at the African Utility Week, in Cape Town.

According to Klinck, the African small hydropower market has great potential with East Africa leading the market by 209MW of installed capacity and a potential of 6,296MW. Following in the second place is Central Africa with 76MW installed capacity and 328MW potential.

North Africa takes third place with 155MW of installed capacity and 184MW potential. Lastly, in fourth place is southern Africa with 43MW of installed small hydropower and 383MW potential.

East Africa’s small hydropower capacity

Narrowing down the numbers, Klinck cited stats from the World Hydro Report 2016, which shows that Uganda has the highest installed capacity in East Africa of 35MW.

On the same note, Kenya and Ethiopia are listed among the leading neighbouring countries having significant potential of small hydropower estimated at 3,000MW and 1,500MW respectively. Read more…

Rwanda, where Klinck is based, has a total energy generation capacity of 1000MW of which 40% lies in hydropower . This potential presents $1 billion in hydro investments.

He stated that at present there are 21 operational sites in Rwanda with a total of 84MW that mostly is privately owned. Klinck further revealed that more 40 sites are currently under private sector development, with a capacity of 85MW.

He said all of these developments are aligned towards driving the goal of universal access to electricity in the country. Read more…

Small hydropower challenges

Klinck said his company has more than 20MW in development and has deployed a number of projects in Rwanda including the 2700kW Rwaza plant, the 445kW Rubagabaga plant and the 438kW Musarara plant.

Sharing on some of the challenges that they have experienced while developing these small hydro projects, he mentioned the lack of hydrological data.

“A lot of the challenges was the lack of hydrological data, being able to know or seeing what the reality is -versus what was projected. With regards to performance, we are not necessarily optimising the plants in ways that we would have, should we have had better historical data,” he said.


Featured image: Cassia Lodge

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.