Hydroelectric power for Africa from Congo Dam

 

The Congo River has the largest water masses of all African rivers. It also has the potential to produce renewable energy for millions of people. Up to now, however, there has not been enough money to create vast amounts of electricity from hydroelectric power.

Recently South Africa has signed a deal with the Democratic Republic of Congo in which it agrees to buy large amounts of electricity from the African country’s water power stations.

The Grand Inga, when completed, will create more power than the Three Gorges Dam in China. The hydroelectric power station will be built in a valley about 50 km from the mouth of the Congo River. Up to 6 separate power stations will produce over 40,000 megawatts of electricity.

The project will also get money from the World Bank and other development banks around the world. South Africa, the continent’s largest industrial country, is also expected to pour billions into the project. Nigeria and Egypt have already announced that they are willing to buy energy from the new dams.

The first generator is scheduled to produce electricity as soon as 2020, a time when much of Africa will be in desperate need of power.

existing Inga 1 Dam

Existing Inga dam


The dams are being constructed in a country where only 10% of the population have electricity. Especially in remote villages, electric power is rare and often turned on only for a few hours a week. Sometimes there are only small generators that produce barely enough electricity to power up the villagers’ cell phones. Many people depend on candles for light.

There are already critical voices in Congo who are against the dam project. They claim that most of the energy will go to other countries and will only make the corrupt government richer. Large parts of the population will continue to be without energy.

The project’s supervisors, however, say that The Grand Inga project, will be a completely private venture with money from foreign investors.

Two existing dams in the region date back to the 1960s and 1970s. According to energy experts, if the government had modernized them they could produce enough power for most of the African country.

 

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Words

  • according to = as said by
  • agree = to say yes to something
  • amount = quantity
  • announce = to say officially
  • barely = hardly
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • complete = finish
  • construct = build
  • corrupt = immoral, bad, dishonest
  • critical = not agree about
  • date back = go back to
  • deal = agreement, pact
  • depend on = need
  • desperate = serious, extreme
  • development bank =bank that raises money for new projects in poor countries
  • electricity = power, energy that flows through wires and cables and is used to make machines work or give light
  • especially = above all
  • foreign = from another country
  • however = but
  • hydroelectric = water power
  • modernize = to make better and more modern
  • potential = capacity, power
  • pour = put into
  • power station = building where generators work to produce electricity
  • private venture = business that is funded with private money
  • rare = not often
  • recently = a short time ago
  • remote = faraway
  • renewable = something that can be used over and over again
  • schedule = plan
  • separate = different
  • sign = to put your name on a document
  • supervisor = person who is in control of  something
  • vast = large