Lubumbashi, Haut-Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, 27th November 2019
Milestone for DRC’s newest hydropower project.
DRC’s first private hydropower project starts its first phase of construction.
Kipay is proud to announce the kickoff of the construction of the Sombwe Hydropower Project.
The opening ceremony took place at Kalera Gare, in the north of the Haut-Katanga Province on Saturday November 23rd, 2019.
Meeting local energy needs will contribute to poverty reduction and stimulate economic growth across the country. DRC has considerable hydropower potential of which only 2% is used. Hydropower represents the cleanest and most cost-effective source of energy in the country, as such the deffcit of energy sources are a significant obstacle to investment and job creation. At present, an estimated 1% of the rural DRC population can access electricity.
Sombwe HPP is situated in the south east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 300 km north of Lubumbashi and 200 km east of the mining city of Kolwezi, and downstream of two existing hydropower developments at Koni and Mwadingusha. Due to this remote location, it is worth highlighting that there will be no resettlements of local communities.
Kipay’s plan for Sombwe is to have a maximum output of 166 megawatts and to generate 890 gigawatts of energy per year. The plant will comprise a 90-metre high dam and it will be constructed in partnership with the Chinese state hydropower company PowerChina. The construction period is four years.
In Sombwe, the power from the dam generated will travel 200 kilometres south to the Fungurume substation. Kipay, as a catalyst for social development, will be providing electricity to local communities near the site. In addition the electricity will be sold to some mining companies in the vicinity of Kolwezi. The technical feasibility studies were completed by the French consultant companies Knight Piesold and Ingerop.
Sombwe HPP follows national and international legislation, company-specific policies and international conventions. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was authorised by the Congolese Ministry of Environment in 2016.
Social development is at the core of Kipay’s mission in Haut Katanga, and they have taken the responsible decision to engage as early and as transparently as possible with the communities who will be the most affected by the hydropower project at Sombwe – in particular the village of Kalera.
As Sombwe is located close to the Upemba National Park, KIPAY has undertaken the responsibility to work closely with The Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) to develop their Biodiversity Management Plan.
The first phase of Sombwe HPP is to construct a 56-km access road from the village of Kalera to Sombwe. To reach Kalera, KIPAY has undertaken the obligation to renovate the 7 kilometres of existing provincial road from Kalera Gare to Kalera.
During the opening ceremony for the road construction, The Haut-Katanga Governor Mr Jacques Kyabuka Katwe said in his speech “Sombwe HPP is not only a private project, it is a community project that will bring development to the area and new job opportunities.”
The vice-minister of Energy and Hydraulic Resources in Congo Mr Papy Pungu Lwamba, stated in this speech: “The government promotes and supports public-private partnership to reduce the energy decit. This is a driving force for socioeconomic development. Kipay is an excellent example of how private sector takes their responsability.
The CEO of KIPAY Mr Eric Monga stated in his speech “Kipay Investments is a Congolese company and we are going to construct this dam, in collaboration with Power China, to meet the challenges of the chronic deficit of electricity in our country. We want to meet the goals of economic and human development”