The start of commercial operations at the 20MW Kabu 16 hydropower plant on the Kabulantwa River in Cibitoke province, Burundi, has been pushed back to June 2022. A spokesperson for German project equipment supplier Voith told African Energy that essential tasks had been interrupted by Covid-19-related restrictions, including the inspection of components. On 2 March the government granted a 15-month contract extension to Indian engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor Angelique International, giving an expected commissioning date of 30 June 2022.
Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, visiting the site earlier this year, said the delay was the result of Covid-19-related restrictions, flooding of the site and land rights issues. Construction of the plant started in June 2019; Angelique is supervising the installation and commissioning of the plant and has contracted Voith to design, manufacture and supply the electromechanical equipment (AE 395/11). Kabu 16 is a run-of-river hydropower plant that comprises two 10MW vertical Francis turbines; the project includes a small conventional gravity dam in the main river channel with live storage equal to two hours of plant output. The total project cost is estimated at $86m by the Burundian government.
Image: Kabu 16 hydropower plant. Source: African Energy Live Data
Covid-19 leaves Africa with the least new generation capacity since 2013, with sub-Saharan Africa worst hit
- An African Energy Live Data update shows that only 7,706MW net new capacity was added in the whole of Africa in 2020, the lowest since 2013
- Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, saw the lowest capacity growth since 2008, with only 1,584MW added
- Natural gas was the most popular technology, with a net 3.2GW added, almost exclusively in North Africa, followed by hydropower (911MW), solar (842MW), and wind (829MW)
- In sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), hydropower was by far the most significant technology, with 911MW added in 2020, followed by 207MW using liquid fossil fuels and around 100MW each from coal, wind, and solar
- Some bounce-back is expected in 2021.