free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 301. THE INGA DAMS: ENOUGH TO POWER ALL AFRICA

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

301. THE INGA DAMS: ENOUGH TO POWER ALL AFRICA

[Note from JD: This is a guest post by Lorenzo.]

Here's some information which totally debunks news about "developing countries" collapsing due to peakoil, "massive die-off" in Africa, etc....

The Inga Dams on the Congo have the potential to power the entire continent of Africa and its future industrialisation AND even sell excess electricity to Europe. Inga has the world's largest hydroelectric potential (42,000 MW, which equals 40 BIG nuke plants, or 100 BIG coal-fired power plants), bigger than the Three Gorges and the Itaipu. But nobody knows the Inga - and peak oilers simply don't want to know it.

Maps and data on the Inga Dams (click to enlarge):


Dictator Mobutu and the Belgians built it, then it went dead because of the civil war in the Congo, but now it's being rebuilt -- by credible investors (South Africa's ESKOM and the world bank, etc...), and by "the Chinese", who dare to venture in African projects where the Belgians or the Americans no longer dare to.

Please read more about it here:
Congo River to Power Africa Out of Poverty
Congo River dam to industrialise Africa, Europe


The Inga is a natural complex of rapids, with a natural reservoir (head: 150 metres). So there's no additional methanogenesis caused by man. And even if the Grand Inga (extension of the reservoir) were to put a huge area under water, the advantage is that the region is a moon landscape. I know the place, I've seen the region, and the rapids are located in a huge dead zone of rocks, there's not a single tree there. So no 'pristine' rainforests, no extra methane.

Some use the methane argument against dams - but it's absurd: for none of the big dams it makes sense, as these offset much bigger amounts of CO2 than they add GHGs. By the way, Inga will be inscribed as a U.N. Clean Development Mechanism project.

Now others will say: "this doesn't give Africa liquid fuels". But they're so wrong. The DRCongo, neighboring Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have the potential to produce between 5 and 10 million barrels a day of sugar/cassava ethanol (no need to cut a single tree) and palm biodiesel. (Some estimates go so far as to say 15 million bpd). Without endangering food production. Inga hydropower will provide dirt cheap electricity which will be used to power the biofuel processing plants.
There's even talk about a biofuel pipeline from Kinshasa to the Atlantic port of Banana, where a bioterminal might be built. (Brazil's building a 1000km ethanol pipeline systemSource, so it's not a fantasy). Really, the Congo's and the CAR are huge countries (only 5% of all arable land is being used currently), and they will become the Green Opec together with Brazil (and other Latin American countries).

So imagine the Inga delivering quasi-free electricity to biofuel production facilities, that use the same electricity to pump their vast quantities of Central-African biofuels through a pipeline to the Atlantic, ready to be exported....

VoilĂ , I hope this news is of use to you. Most people have never heard of the Inga. Most people don't know the bioenergy potential of Central-Africa. Most people don't know that there are two countries called Congo. Most people don't know that these countries have vast unused land potential (it needs investment, nothing else). Most people don't realise that Africa not only exports petroleum, but that in the near future it will even sell electricity and biofuels abroad. In vast quantities.
-- by Lorenzo

19 Comments:

At Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at 6:51:00 PM PDT, Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

What holds Africa back is not lack of natural resources.

 
At Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at 7:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger Martin K said...

Hey JD - your are back soon. Africa... great.... best to move there...to enjoy.
To Robert - Yes we do hold Africa back. For centuries. Did you noticed?

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 2:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger Alex said...

I once saw this project in a plan to build a European-Middle East-North Africa renewables grid with HVDC lines.

Now the war is over, it's time to rebuild.

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 8:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chinablu said...

Sure. Most americans don't ever know where Iraq (and Italy, I guess) is... :-)

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 9:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chinablu said...

Please note that 90 (ninety) per cent of the rural communities living in Africa, lives far away from any electrical facility, that will be VERY expensive to be built. Most of the earns from the dams' electricity would go to the energy corporations and a very restricted elite of businessmen.

Business as usual, for frica, where, at present, the foreign debt is the first plague.

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 9:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

I am pretty sceptical on this type of scheme. I think hydro is great, but this type of big budget development rarely achieves its stated goals, but instead lines the pockets of corrupt officials and allows the West to exploit Africa - again. The hydro power will go to big companies doing work for the West - not for the poor who need it. Small scale hydro and wind would be much better for them.

Unfortunately, big government and big business favor the big projects over the thousands of little projects that make the real difference.

New Scientist has a more balanced view on the success of these projects. http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn2839

I think the problems of Africa are a hell of a lot deeper than just "requiring investment".

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 9:20:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chinablu said...

True. robert schwartz.

Congo is among the 20 most corrupted countries in the world (see http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2005)

Furthermore, are we sure the waterflood reduction due to the dam will not completely destroy fishing?

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 1:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger Dom said...

My heart goes to Africa.

I just love Africa. I wish them all the best, and that this will help them out. They have so much potential. So many resources.

And I would love to turn their deserts green:

seawaterfarms

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 1:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chinablu said...

"but instead lines the pockets of corrupt officials and allows the West to exploit Africa - again. The hydro power will go to big companies doing work for the West - not for the poor who need it. Small scale hydro and wind would be much better for them".

I wouldn't say it better (basically because of my poor English).

A friend of us works as a missionary in Rwanda. I can assure that a monster-dam is not their main issue.

Thanks, bc.

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 3:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger bc said...

dom writes:
And I would love to turn their deserts green:

seawaterfarms


On the face of it, that looks like a nice eco-friendly way to help Africans bootstrap themselves. But is it? Closer inspection reveals that the company behind it has patented GMO technology (Genetic Modified Organism) which it wishes to licence. And the produce from the seawater farm is exported to Europe and the Middle East.

So this is really another way to exploit African resources for the benefit of the West.

 
At Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 4:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

I once saw this project in a plan to build a European-Middle East-North Africa renewables grid with HVDC lines.

See here:
http://www.trecers.org/

and here:
CSP

 
At Friday, May 12, 2006 at 2:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger Alex said...

This was the one I was thinking of.

 
At Friday, May 12, 2006 at 7:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger diemos said...

"THE INGA DAMS: ENOUGH TO POWER ALL AFRICA"

Listed as having a potential of 45,000MW. For comparison, california's peak electricity demand is 42,000MW in the summer.

California pop: 36M
Africa pop: 840M

So the title is correct if africans are content to use 1/20 the power of your average californian.

"Here's some information which totally debunks news about "developing countries" collapsing due to peakoil, "massive die-off" in Africa, etc...."

The Africans, living in their mud huts and practising hand agriculture, are already in a zero fossil fuel existence. They won't even notice the end of oil.

This article was a blast from the past since I lived in Zaire in 81-82 and my father worked as an engineer on the Inga-Shaba power transmission line. Do you know what the hardest thing about maintaining a power line in africa is? Finding enough armed men to patrol it so that the local villagers won't tear your pylons down for scrap as fast as you put them up.

 
At Friday, May 12, 2006 at 3:56:00 PM PDT, Blogger Big Jay said...

A close friend of mine was in Africa about 4 years ago putting a water pump into a village. She has story after story of how seemingly obvious problems to solve don't get solved because of culturally ingrained BS. For example, the village boys would go to the neighboring village but not the girls. "Why not the girls?" "Because neighboring village boys might kidnap them and force them to be their wife." "Okay, so why can't the boys and the girls walk together to the village?" "How will my son find himself a wife then?"

It will be a generation, or two, before any real headway is made in Africa.

 
At Sunday, May 14, 2006 at 2:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Dom said...

bc responds:
"On the face of it, that looks like a nice eco-friendly way to help Africans bootstrap themselves."
I think it's utopian to think that Africa is about to bootstrap itself anytime soon. And I see no problem with trying to make profits through enterprises in foreign countries, right?

Who do you think is pumping all that money into China, for instance? Bootstrapping stopped there in 1982. Political stability, on the other hand...

"So this is really another way to exploit African resources for the benefit of the West."
It's called entrepreneurialism. Or capitalism. Or free market.

And it would be using resources that nobody else is using at the moment.

 
At Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 6:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rebecca Necker said...

If the region can have peace for a couple of decades, and if it can avoid the bad luck of another Mobutu (who took malicious pleasure in draining his country's coffers dry) then this will help a great deal. Those are big ifs, but not beyond hope.

"So the title is correct if africans are content to use 1/20 the power of your average californian."

1/20th the power of your average Californian would be a big advance for many countries in Africa (some of Congo's neighbours have around 1% or less of California's per capita power consumption), and enough to get some industrialization started.

"Do you know what the hardest thing about maintaining a power line in africa is? Finding enough armed men to patrol it so that the local villagers won't tear your pylons down for scrap as fast as you put them up."

Supply all the villages along the route of the power line with cheap electricity, and they'll guard your pylons with their lives, without having to be asked.

 
At Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 7:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger Phillip said...

1) even if the eceltricity could possiblt be produced who's going to money to pay for its consumption?

2) Africa is a huge continent - you would loose half of the power trying to transmit getting it to Africa's extremities.

That's all - cheers

 
At Monday, January 21, 2008 at 9:12:00 AM PST, Anonymous amj said...

"big jay" is right on the money.

My cousin has worked in Africa for the majority of his adult life for organizations such as " The Peace Corps","Care" and "Save the Children". The bizarre ingrained cultural thinking there is beyond all logic/belief. For Africa's sake I really do hope that INGA works but the hurdles that it faces go far beyond capital investment and basic implementation.

 
At Friday, May 2, 2008 at 6:11:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

However corrupt the government it may be, the African cannot get any poorer than they are now. Now, we have the Chinese building their dams, the American (President Bush)donating billions of dollars of food and local farmin. Let us hope that this is the start of the "One Worldness"; Africa has the potential of 85 percent arable land that is truely lack of fresh water for farming. The need for dams for water is the true hope and solution to elevate the African off from starvations, for the better future.- by Dr. Zhang, from USA

 

Post a Comment

<< Home