BII (UK) joins Africa-focused hydro JV to build a 205 MW plant in DR Congo
British International Investment (BBI, formerly CDC group), which is the development finance institution of the UK government, has joined Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries, an Africa-focused hydropower joint venture with Scatec. The joint-venture plans to develop the 205 MW Ruzizi III hydropower plant on the Ruzizi River, which forms the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DR) and Rwanda in the region. The project should reach financial close by end-2022. Construction is expected to start in 2023 and commissioning is scheduled for 2027. Hydro accounts for 94% of DR Congo's installed capacity (2021), with 2.8 GW. Other projects include the 120 MW Volobe hydropower plant in Madagascar and the 350 MW Mpatamanga project in Malawi.
Earlier in June 2022, the Ministry of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity of Congo DR and the Zambian Ministry of Energy signed an inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of the 789 MW Luapula River hydropower project and a 330 kV interconnection project between Kolwezi in Congo DR and Solwezi in Zambia. The two projects will be developed by the Congolese state-owned power utility SNEL and its Zambian counterpart Zesco, which formalised their cooperation through an MoU. The two countries initially signed an agreement in 2015 to build a 1,188 MW hydropower plant on the Luapula River, but the deal was not implemented.
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