26 October 2012 – The total installed generation capacity in the Republic of Congo has increased significantly recently, according to Afribiz. The 350MW twin gas-fired plants in Cote Mateve, inaugurated inDecember 2011 and the 120MW hydroelectric plant, which commenced operations in June 2012 at Imboulou, have lifted installed capacity in the country to 660MW.
Although capacity utilisation remains acutely short of the estimated national power need of 600MW, it represents a sizeable improvement on the approximately 200MW the country had previously. Congo still has the potential to expand its hydroelectric power output to 1,100 MW via a proposed 800MW hydropower station at Chollet and upgrading the Imboulou dam to its full capacity of 300MW.
However, these upgrades and the current increase in supply have not transmitted to a higher electrification rate due to a lack of transmission capacity. Congo urgently needs investment in transmission and distribution lines. The government has estimated a bill of US$602 million as the financial requirement to provide this infrastructure, and it is likely to consider external funding sources.