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ACS withdraws from 11 GW Inga 3 hydropower project in Congo DR

23 Jan 2020

Spanish construction group ACS has decided to withdraw from the Inga III hydropower project in Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DR). In December 2019, the President of Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DR) decided to reduce the capacity of the project from 11 GW to 4.8 GW. According to the President, a smaller project can be built much faster, given the urgent energy needs of the country and the region.

Two options were on the table for the construction of the long-awaited and several times postponed project. The AfDB has funded a US$75m feasibility study to develop a 4.8 GW hydropower plant and approved funding to start construction in the first quarter of 2020. Alternatively, two consortia led by Chinese companies on the one hand and by Spanish companies, including ACS, on the other hand, have submitted bids to develop a 11 GW dam, at an estimated cost of US$14bn. The two bidders, which have not yet carried out feasibility studies, have been asked to form a single consortium to carry out the project but have failed to agree on how to proceed with the construction.

In January 2020, the Congolese government and the African Development Bank (AfDB)​ agreed on the 4.8 GW project, which could be later expanded to 7.5 GW, and eventually to 11 GW. The project would cost US$12bn. Of the 4.8 GW capacity, 2.5 GW would be directed for South Africa, 1.3 GW for mining companies in Congo DR and 1 GW for the national network.

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