By Desmond Davies, GNA London Bureau Chief
London, May 15, GNA – Angola newly installed 668 megawatts (MW) of hydroelectricity in 2018, makes it the number one African country to add the most capacity to electricity generation from hydropower, according to the 2019 Hydropower Status Report published to coincide with the ongoing biennial World Hydropower Congress in Paris.
Zimbabwe (150 MW), the Democratic Republic of Congo (121 MW), Egypt (32 MW) and Uganda (24 MW) were the other leading African countries that increased capacity in renewable hydroelectricity last year.
East Asia and the Pacific once again added the most, 9.2 gigawatts (GW) followed by South America (4.9 GW), South and Central Asia (4.0 GW), Europe (2.2 GW), Africa (1.0 GW) and North and Central America (0.6 GW).
The Hydropower Status Report, published by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), is an authoritative guide to key trends in hydropower development.
Compiled by the IHA’s team of analysts, the report presents latest capacity and generation data from over 200 countries and territories.
“Four years on since the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, governments increasingly recognise hydropower as playing a vital role in national strategies for delivering affordable and clean electricity, managing freshwater, combating climate change and improving livelihoods,” wrote IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor and IHA President Ken Adams in the foreword to the report.
It also features policy insights from leading government ministers responsible for hydropower development, including Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, Irene Nafuna Muloni.
She emphasised the need to raise investment capital for hydropower development to widen electricity access and support socio-economic transformation.
The World Hydropower Congress is focusing on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, under the theme: ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’.
Hundreds of decision-makers, innovators and experts from over 70 countries are attending the Congress.
Through discussion sessions and workshops, participants have been sharing knowledge on how hydropower can be financed, developed and operated sustainably.
The UK-based IHA is a non-profit membership organisation formed in 1995.
It says it is “committed to building and sharing knowledge on hydropower’s role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions”.
At the opening of the Congress on Tuesday, IHA President Adams, underlined the importance of collaboration between the hydropower sector and wider communities.
“The spirit of IHA has always been to engage in dialogue with stakeholders from different countries, sectors and backgrounds.
“We believe that stronger outcomes are ensured when objectives are shared and dialogue is open.
“The largest community which we are all a part of is the human community, living on a planet facing unprecedented stress and having to build consensus and achieve action to build a more sustainable future,” Mr Adams said.
“We support the Sustainable Development Goals and believe the targets set by the Paris Agreement require us all to work harder to ensure that renewable energy can be provided to all in a sustainable way,” he added.
The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, told the Congress that despite its promise globally, investment in the renewable sector had slowed.
He said the IEA planned to dedicate its next renewable energy report to hydropower.
“Hydropower - why are we so keen? Because of its potential, especially in Africa,” said Dr Birol.
“Today in Sub-Saharan Africa two out of three people have no access to electricity. Morally, it is a shame for all of us.
“We think hydropower can provide a lot of benefits to our societies, ranging from electricity access in emerging economies, reduction of CO2 emissions, reduction of air pollution, and we can nicely integrate it with solar and wind,” he added.