The African Development Bank Group has approved a senior loan worth US$70.6 million to the Coder Hydropower Project for the design, construction and operation of two new facilities in Gabon, HydroWorld.com has learned.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) says the funding will pay for two run-of-river plants -- one with a 70 MW capacity, and the other with a 52 MW capacity.
Gabon, located along western coast, boasts an electricity access rate of 83%, according to AfDB figures. However, the bank says the country still suffers frequent electricity shortages and blackouts resulting from high urbanization. This disparity between supply and demand has led the Gabonese government to establish a goal of increasing its generating capacity from 373 MW to 1,200 MW by 2020.
Neside Tas Anvaripour, head of infrastructure and finance for AfDB, says the plants will provide base-load energy at a "highly competitive price," helping wean the country away from fossil fuels. Currently, the country produces around half its power via hydro and the remainder through diesel power generation.
Both projects are expected to be complete within the next two years.
HydroWorld.com reported in May that AfDB had agreed to help finance a hydroelectric development study in the Baro-Akobo-Sobat region of the Nile Basin.