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Angolan infrastructure poised to spur growth and diversification

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For Angola to achieve its targeted 9.9 GW of installed generation capacity and 60% electrification rate by 2025, the country’s Government has instituted an ambitious infrastructure plan.

This plan is supported by a series of regulatory reforms, incentives for investors, and strategic partnerships that will require the execution of bankable Power Purchase Agreements, external financing, and the participation of experienced private sector developers.

For the country to support new production capacity, power transmission infrastructure in Angola will have to be enhanced. As such, Angola’s Energy Sector Efficiency and Expansion Program Phase I will serve to connect the country’s three grid systems – the northern, central, and southern systems – through the construction of a 16,340km-long 400 kV North-Central-South transmission line by 2025.

The interconnection system will evacuate approximately 1,000 MW of low-cost hydropower from the Kwanza River basin to the country’s capital and other population centers in the southern part of Angola.

This project is being implemented through a collaboration between the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Power Africa initiative and multilateral development financial institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), as part of efforts to improve electricity distribution and strengthen the financial viability of the power market.

The project will be overseen by Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water and will involve a $530 million investment from the AfDB.

What’s more, under the country’s Angola 2025 Plan, the Government’s stated renewable energy production goal is 700 MW. As such, the Government approved three solar projects that include the development of seven solar power plants with a combined capacity of 370 MW, which are set to be constructed over the next four years across the Benguela, Huambo, Bié, Luanda Norte, Luanda Sul, and Moxico Provinces.

Additionally, the Plan includes the construction of a 50 MW solar plant in the Namibe Province, which will be developed by Solenova, a joint venture between oil and gas supermajor, Eni, and Angola’s state-owned Sonangol.

Furthermore, a 30-100 MW solar photovoltaic power plant in the Huíla Province is being developed through a consortium that includes multinational energy company, TotalEnergies, and Angolan energy company, Angola Environment Technology.

With regards to hydropower, construction of the country’s 960 MW Cambambe and 2,070 MW Laúca hydroelectric power stations have been largely completed, while the 2.2 GW Cacula Cabaça hydroelectric power station is expected to initiate commercial commissioning by 2024.

Furthermore, Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water has identified nearly 100 locations to produce up to 600 MW of renewable electricity from mini-hydro power stations – which will each have a capacity of less than 10 MW – throughout the country’s vast river network. Development of these projects will require significant external financing and private sector participation to feasibly contribute to Angola’s energy sector transformation.

Meanwhile, significantly contributing to Angola’s current installed capacity of 5.6 GW, the 750 MW Soyo I combined cycle plant is currently generating 500 MW of electricity. Plans are currently underway to develop a second Soyo combined cycle plant, which will contribute an additional 750 MW to the country’s grid.

In May 2018, the Government of Angola passed the Natural Gas Commercialization Law, which is poised to encourage the provision and development of energy production equipment for natural gas, thus attracting further private investment to the country.

Angola currently serves as a non-operating member of the cooperation of national electricity companies in Southern Africa, the Southern African Power Pool. Angola is poised to join the entity through the implementation of a connective network between Angola and Namibia through the construction of the 600 MW Baynes Dam hydroelectric plant.

Furthermore, a connection in the north of Angola with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is also being considered, through which the two countries’ grids would be connected through the Inga hydroelectric dams.

With the country’s national budget dedicated to the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity having increased from $482 million in 2021 to $490 million in 2022, Government support to promote the successful implementation of projects led by the private sector will be imperative towards supporting Angola’s power distribution capabilities.

As such, major opportunities for foreign investors and strategic partners to participate in the transformation of Angola’s energy sector exist to improve the regulatory environment within the country; develop energy regulation, planning, and procurement; and enable regional harmonization and cross border trade.

All this and more will be discussed at this year’s Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) 2023 Conference and Exhibition, the country’s official energy conference, which will return to Luanda for its fourth edition this year.

Organized by Energy Capital & Power, AOG 2023 will highlight Angola’s role as an emerging regional energy hub while promoting strategic partnerships and the country’s investment opportunities spanning the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors; renewable energy; and infrastructure.

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