Hydroelectric Power Plants in Southern Africa
Location: South Africa
Operator: Eskom
Configuration: 4 X 90 MW Francis
Operation: 1971-1976
T/G supplier: Fuji, Toshiba
Quick facts: The village built in 1960 to house dam workers has now become a holiday resort. The Gariep Dam and 90km reservoir, about 200km south of Bloemfontein on the Orange River, is now a major regional tourist attraction. The Gariep Dam Nature reserve is home to many species of antelope and the Cape zebra.

Photograph courtesy of Eskom
Posted 7 Mar 2001

Location: Rwanda
Operator: Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd
Configuration: 2 X 2.15-MW Pelton
Operation: 2014
T/G supplier: Gugler
EPC: Sher Ingeniurs-Conseils sa, Horizon-Aquifer JV Ltd, Gehydro Consulting Engineers and Planners Ltd
Quick facts: Construction on this SHP on the Giciye River in northwestern Rwanda started in Mar 2012. The scheme has a small dam, ,2.5km power canal, and powerhouse. The head is 165m. The $12mn project was built with grant assistance from the Davey Ouwens Fund of the Dutch MOFA and further investment from BIO-Société Belge d'Investissement pour les Pays en Développement.

Photograph courtesy of  Ministry of Infrastructure
Posted 28 Sep 2014

Kariba Dam
Location: Zambia/Zimbabwe
Operator: Kariba North Bank Co Ltd (K North), ZESA (K South)
Configuration: 4 X 150 MW Francis (KNorth), 6 X 111 MW Francis (K South)
Operation: 1959-1974
T/G supplier: Voest, Boving, MV, Koncar
EPC: Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, Mitchell Construction, Impresit Kariba
Quick facts: This HPP is downstream of the Victoria Falls and upstream of Cahora Bassa Dam. It was originally developed and contracted by the Federal Power Board of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Construction ran from Aug 1956 to Oct 1960. The double-curvatur dam is 128m high, 620m long and 14m wide at the crest, with a base width of 24m. It features six overflow sluices placed about 30m below the maximum water level and forms a reservoir of 185,000mn m³ on a surface area of about 500,000ha Approximately 25% of all of the water flowing into Lake Kariba is lost to evaporation. Impresit Kariba was formed by Impresit, Girola and Lodigiani. On completion of the plant, the three companies established Impregilo SpA.

Photograph courtesy of Salini Impregilo
Re-posted 10 Aug 2013

Katse Dam
Location: Lesotho
Operator: Lesotho Highlands Development Auth
Configuration: 2 X 500 kW
Operation: 1997
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts: The 185m Katse Dam was the tallest in Africa at completion. The dam is a double curvature concrete arch, 710m along the crest. The two minihydro sets suffice to power dam operations.

Photograph by A R Turton and courtesy of AWIRU
Posted 5 Dec 2004

Maguga Dam
Location: Swaziland
Operator: Komati Basin Water Authority
Configuration: 2 X 10 MW Francis
Operation: 2007
T/G supplier: Alstom
EPC: Ninham Shand, Keeve Steyn, VKE Engineers, SRK Consultants, ZMCK, Kagga & Partners, M&E Consultants, LTA, Group 5, Grinaker, WBHO, Swaziland Contractors Association
Quick facts: Kobwa is a bi-national company formed in 1993 through the treaty on the Development and Utilization of the Water Resources of the Komati River Basin signed in 1992 between the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa. Phase 1B of Kobwa’s initial development was Maguga Dam. The clay core, rock-fill dam is 12km south of Pigg's Peak and has a total height of 115m, making it the fifth highest dam in Southern Africa. A 460m outlet tunnel is equipped with twin 2000mm diameter steel penstocks. Power generation is dependant on irrigation requirements and therefore varies widely. Since high floods can occur on the Komati River at Maguga, a very large spillway was constructed.

Photograph by nyinyu (Panoramio)
Posted 26 Dec 2008

Location: Madagascar
Operator: Jiro sy Rano Malagasy
Configuration: 4 X 6 MW Pelton
Operation: 1958-1972
T/G supplier: Vevey, Althom-Jeumont, BBC
Quick facts: The Mandraka site is 70km from Antananarivo, on the road to Toamasina. Each group is equipped with two runners on the same turbine shaft, with two injectors per runner. In Nov 2003, VA TECH Hydro in France was awarded a contract to rehabilitate the plant. The scope included four new runners, two new turbine shafts, four new oil tanks with accumulators, two new speed governors, the rehabilitation of mechanical components as well as an electrical assembly comprising transformers, plus switchgear and electrical equipment supplied by CEGELEC. Funding is from the EIB.

Photograph courtesy of Dilag-Tours
Posted 15 Feb 2008

Location: Lesotho
Operator: Lesotho Highlands Development Auth
Configuration: 3 X 24 MW Francis
Operation: 1999
T/G supplier: Boving, ABB
EPC: Lahmeyer International, Mott MacDonald, ABCC, Spie Batignolles, Campenon Bernard, Balfour Beatty, Ed Zublin, ‘Muela Hydropower Project Contractors.
Quick facts: The underground 'Muela hydropower station was built between the southern and norther parts of the water tunnel system from Katse Dam. The headrace is a 45km transfer tunnel. Water exits into the 'Muela tailpond, formed by a 55m high dam on the Nqoe River. This provides the headwater for the continuation of water delivery to South Africa. First feasibility studies were in 1986 and tender designs were done in 1990. Construction began in Feb 1994.

Photograph courtesy of Rand Water
Posted 23 Jan 2013

Location: Rwanda
Operator: Rwanda Energy Group Ltd
Configuration: 2 X 14-MW Francis
Operation: 2014
T/G supplier: BHEL
EPC: BHEL, SMEC, Angelique International
Quick facts: This power station is 75km southwest of Kigali on the Nyabarongo River, in Mushishiro, Muhanga District, Southern Province. This will be the largest HPP in Rwanda at completion. Construction got underway in Mar 2010, about a year past the initial schedule. The project includes a 120KV tie-line to Kilinda Substation. The toal cost is about $110mn.

Photograph courtesy of Ministry of Infrastructure
Posted 28 Sep 2014

Location: Madagascar
Operator: Hydelec Madagascar SA
Configuration: 3 X 5 MW Pelton
Operation: 2008
T/G supplier: Hunan Lingling Hengyuan
EPC: Stucky
Quick facts: When commissioned In Oct 2008, this was Madagascar's first such plant of any size built in 30yrs. Prime Minister Charles Rabemananjara presided at the opening ceremony. The €15mn plant was financed by Banque Africaine de Developpement, BFV-Societe Generale, and Mauritius Commercial Bank. MIGA also issued a 15yr guarantee of $19.89mn to Energy Engineering Investment covering its equity investment in and shareholder loans to Hydelec. The project was implemented under a 30yr concession agreement and Hydelec has a 10yr power purchase agreement with Jirama. Annual production will be about 70 GWh and the expected generation cost is 4.8 cents/kWh. The turbines operate with a head of 243m and the plant is connected via a 63kV line running about 30km north to Jirama's substation at Antsirabe. This was built by BP Automation.

Photograph courtesy of Hydelec Madagascar
Posted 15 Feb 2008

Location: Zambia
Operator: Zesco Ltd
Configuration: 2 X 500 kW Kaplan
Operation: 2012
T/G supplier: Jinlun
EPC: Hangzhou Regiional Center for Small Hydro
Quick facts: Construction of this SHP in Muchinga began in Apr 2011 and it was opened on 5 Dec 2012 by the president of Zambia Michel Sata, the Chinese ambassador, and other dignitaries. The turnkey project was jointly developed by Zesco, the Global Environment Facility, UNIDO, Hangrzhou RESH, and Zhejiang Jinlun Electromechanic.

Photograph courtesy of Zhejiang Jinlun Electromechanic Co Ltd
Posted 31 Aug 2013

Sol Plaatje Dam
Location: South Africa
Operator: Bethlehem Hydro (Pty) Ltd
Configuration: 3 X 1 MW Kaplan
Operation: 2009
T/G supplier: Boving Fouress
EPC: Ninham Shand Consulting Engineers, Eigenbau (Pty) Ltd
Quick facts: This plant at the wall of the Sol Plaatje Dam on the Ash River in Free State was commissioned in Oct 2009, the first new hydro plant in South Africa since 1988. Project development of this facility and a sister plant at Merino started in 2001 and financial close was in Aug 2005. Construction got underway in Dec 2006. Permitting, licensing, and PPA agreements were essentially first of a kind in the country. Annual output from Sol Plaatje is expected to be 19 GWh/yr The projects cost about R100mn, up substantially from the initial R77mn cost estimate.

Photograph courtesy of Bethlehem Hydro (Pty) Ltd
Posted 12 Dec 2009

Vanderkloof Dam
Location: South Africa
Operator: Eskom
Configuration: 2 X 120 MW Francis
Operation: 1977
T/G supplier: Hitachi, Toshiba
Quick facts: Originally called the P K le Roux Dam. The dam is 130km downstream of Gariep and forms the second largest reservoir in South Africa. The composite gravity arch dam is 107m high and 765m long. Construction was deferred in 1967 and re-tendered in 1970. Costs were much higher than expected so DWAF was directed to undertake construction with design by a consortium of local and overseas companies. Construction started in Apr 1971 and the project was commissioned in Sep 1977.

Photograph by R McKenzie and courtesy of Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Posted 19 Mar 2006


Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 01-Oct-2014