A country blessed with many rivers, Angola’s hydropower potential is among the highest in Africa, estimated at 18,200 MW. This, coupled with increasing demand for electricity following years of strong economic growth and urbanisation, has placed hydropower development as a central element of the Angolan Government’s long-term vision for its power sector. The government’s stated aim is to substantially grow its hydropower generation capacity from its current levels of around 1,200 MW to 9,000 MW by 2025.
Angola’s hydropower development has been mainly located on the Kwanza River, the country’s largest river, and includes the Capanda plant (520 MW) and the Cambambe plant, which in 2016 increased its capacity from 260 MW to 610 MW following the completion of two of the four 175 MW turbines being constructed at a second power station. Once fully completed, the Cambambe plant will have an installed capacity of 960 MW.
The Kwanza River is also home to several other hydropower projects either under construction or in the planning stages, including Laúca (2,070 MW) and Caculo Cabaça (2,170 MW). The Laúca project, which commenced construction in 2012, is expected to begin operations in 2017 and is the largest civil engineering project being undertaken in Angola. Once Laúca is fully operational, installed hydropower capacity in the country is expected to reach close to 4,000 MW, representing roughly 70 per cent of the total installed power capacity.
In late 2016, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China signed an agreement with the Angolan Government to grant a loan to finance the construction of the Caculo Cabaça hydropower project. Located in the Middle Kwanza, the project is expected to take over six years to build and will contribute to the power supply security of the domestic market, and that of neighbouring countries that form the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
On the Cunene River, in the south of the country near the Namibian border, decades after the initial studies were conducted, the proposed Baynes hydropower project (600 MW) may commence construction in 2017. A joint Angolan and Namibian initiative, the project would be supported by a proposed new power transmission line being coordinated by the SAPP, which would further improve the region’s connectivity.
Other hydropower plants located on the Cunene River include Matala (40 MW), which in 2016 underwent a rehabilitation to ensure its structural safety and to increase its production capacity, Gove (62 MW), Mabubas (27 MW), Biopio (14 MW) and Calueque (20 MW). Projects in the pipeline include Jamba ia Oma (65 MW) and Jamba ia Mina (180 MW).
Further hydropower projects along the Keve River in central Angola have also been identified by the government, and include Capunda (330 MW), Dala (440 MW) and Cafula (520 MW).
Finally, the 65 MW Lomaum hydropower plant in Cubal, located in Benguela province, reopened in 2016 after lying idle since 1984 due to being heavily damaged in the country’s civil war that ended in 2002.
This country profile is featured in the 2017 Hydropower Status Report. You can download the full report here.
This profile was last updated in May 2017.