MagEnergy has begun work on the first phase of the rehabilitation and refurbishment programme for the Inga II hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Phase I of the Inga programme concerns the refurbishment of one turbine (named G23) that will provide reliable energy supplies during the execution of phase II of the programme which will involve the rehabilitation of four turbines. This programme was validated by the Protocol D’ Accord signed between Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL) and MagEnergy – a unit of MagIndustries Corp – in May 2005.
An opening ceremony was held on 27 April at the Inga II hydro station in the presence of SNEL and senior management of MagIndustries and MagEnergy, DRC government officials along with diplomatic and other statutory representatives. Senior DRC representatives included the Vice President of the Republic Responsible for the Construction and Development, His Excellency Mr. Yerodia; Minister of Energy Mr. Banamuhere; and DRC Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Bene Mpoko. Other senior guests included the Canadian Ambassador to DRC, Mr. Jean-Pierre Bolduc; the Italian Ambassador to DRC; the Ambassador of the European Community and the Minister of Mines of the Republic of Congo, Mr. Pierre Oba.
MagEnergy will finance the US$12M refurbishment of turbine G23 as Phase I of the INGA II programme. An additional US$1M has been dedicated to rural electrification projects within the DRC. MagEnergy will immediately generate returns by sharing in revenue streams from electricity sales to international bankable off-takers with which power purchase agreements have been signed. The lead contractor for Phase I is Franco Tossi, of Italy, who also participated in the original development of Inga 30 years ago.
In phase II, MagEnergy will finance the rehabilitation of four turbines at an estimated cost of US$110M. This phase will begin in the third quarter of 2006 and has a projected implementation time of four years. The tender and project finance of phase II will be finalised by the fourth quarter of 2006 and on-site rehabilitation work is scheduled to begin in January 2007. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa currently holds a 15% interest with MagEnergy holding an 85% interest in the both phase I and II of the programme.
Inga has a total capacity of 1774MW of which Inga I represents 350MW and Inga II, 1424MW. The present total available generating output for both sites is approximately 500MW. MagEnergy’s programme will allow for the increase of power of Inga II from about 360MW to 900MW on completion of works, while ensuring a continuous and reliable energy supply. The Inga site, when fully developed, will represent the world’s largest hydroelectric facility.
The partnership between MagEnergy and SNEL is the first project of its kind in the energy sector in the region.