Lauca Hydroelectric Dam, Angola

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The Lauca Hydroelectric Dam is a 2,070 MW hydropower project which started in 2013 and was completed in 2020. The hydropower project was built at the Kwanza River in Dombo-Ya-Pepe, 282 kilometres from Luanda in Kwanza Norte province, Angola. The Lauca Hydroelectric Dam is now known as second largest hydropower plant in Africa.

Construction costs for the Lauca Hydroelectric Dam were estimated at  $4.3 billion. The hydropower project which consists of 6 turbines which will generate 8,640 GWh of electricity per year.

Gamek, an enterprise under the Ministry of Energy and Water developed the Laúca Hydroelectric Dam. Odebrecht Engineering and Construction was the lead contractor

Reported in January 2014

Lauca Dam construction commences

The Angolan government plans to spend over US$4.1 million (AKZ 400 billion) in the construction of the Lauca Hydroelectric Dam, located in northern Kwanza Norte province. The dam will have an installed capacity of 2,060 MW. This is according to the Minister of Energy and Water, João Baptista Borges.

Borges said that tunnels are being built for the diversion of the river and this will be completed by March 2014. He added that the technicians are also digging tunnels to give access to the machinery house, where equipment will be installed for the manufacture of the concrete for the Lauca Hydroelectric Dam’s structures. The dam is expected to start producing power from the third quarter of 2017.

The minister also said the rehabilitation works of the 180 MW Cambambe Dam will be completed by the end of 2015 and as from 2016 it will have an installed capacity of 960 MW.

Concerning the modernisation of the hydroelectric facilities all over the country, the minister highlighted the rehabilitation of the Gove Dam in the central Huambo province, which is already operating with an installed capacity of 60 MW and the Matala Dam in Huila province, which benefitted from improvement works.

He added that the Lomaum and Mabubas Dams, destroyed during the war, were also rehabilitated although Lomaum Dam is not yet producing energy as the transmission line is still being placed, expecting to be completed in April 2014. He reported that his ministry is undertaking an infrastructural development plan that will enable the country to reach 9.000 MW of installed capacity by 2025, which is the major challenge for the sector.

Reported in July 2017

Lauca hydroelectric plant project in Angola begins generation

The first of the six generator-turbines is expected to begin supplying commercial energy to Angola’s public electricity grid on July 21, at the US$4.5 billion 2,070-MW Lauca hydroelectric plant

Empresa Nacional de Electrcidade

In a recent report from Prensa Latina, the plant, which is owned by Angola’s Empresa Nacional de Electrcidade, will begin operating before end of July this year. Odebrecht , a Brazilian firm, is the civil engineering and electromechanical assembly contractor.

Back in 2015, Obebrecht awarded Andritz a contract to provide six 340-MW Francis turbines, generators and other equipment for the hydroelectric plant. Andritz at that time said the project was scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2017.

The Lauca plant, Angola’s largest hydropower project; should help the country reach its short- and long-term energy goals so as to increase the country’s social and economic status.

Also read:GE to expand on its 18 GW hydropower presence in Africa

Estimates from published sources show that of Angola’s 28 million inhabitants, only 7 million are connected to the public electricity grid. The government however, expects to double the number of users connected to the grid by 2025. At the moment, with an estimated GDP of $102BN, Angola is the third-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria.

Sources from the U.S. Department of Commerce say that Angola’s power generation mix will consist of up to 64% hydropower, or about 4 GW. Once the 700-MW Cambambe 2 and the 2,070-MW Lauca hydroelectric projects are fully commissioned, this goal will be achievable.

700-MW Cambambe 2 project

In 2015, reports had it that the World Bank committed $512M to Angola to finance the 700-MW Cambambe 2 project on the Kwanza River.

The second phase of the Cambambe project consists of expansion of the existing plant by 180 MW and construction of four new turbines.

The Lauca and Cambambe 2 projects are part of a wider plan by the government of Angola to produce a total of 9 GW of energy from hydropower and other energy sources by 2025. This would help the country  export electricity to markets in Namibia and South Africa.