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....
Voilà, 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