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Accelerating Sustainable Electrification Process in Angola

After suffering from more thirty years’ civil war, Angola in recent years has begun the slow process of reclaiming their nation by rebuilding both the physical and social infrastructure necessary for peace, security, and economic development. Booming populations, urbanization, and ambitions of economic development will all demand more energy. Angola has particularly strong hydropower generation potential that remains underutilised.

Angola, a country located in southwest Africa. It has a small natural gas production industry, which is used in the industry sector. Petroleum was first discovered in 1955. The country experienced an oil production boom between 2002 and 2008 when production at its deepwater fields began to take off. Angola is also a small natural gas producer, using its natural gas to enhance oil recovery through injection.

Still, most of its natural gas is vented or flared (burned off), although the government is looking to commercialize more of its production. Most of its natural gas production is associated gas coming from oil fields. Angola has 9.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas reserves as of January 1, 2008. With the considerable increases in proved natural gas reserves and government policies to end natural gas flaring, plans are under-way to convert much of the natural gas into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for export with some to be used for domestic electricity production.

Actualizing Angolan Economic Prosperity through Privatisation

After his election in 2017, President João Lourenço moved decisively with wide-ranging legal reforms and other measures that aimed to reduce Angola’s monolithic dependence on oil, increase foreign and domestic investment and ease of doing business, enhance governance controls, and promote development of the private sector. The initiative was to be funded by expanding oil exploration and then production, combined with the proceeds of the sale of roughly 200 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across a wide range of industries to the private sector.

The country’s hydroelectric potential is one of the largest in Africa. Most electricity comes from dams on the Cuanza, Cunene, Catumbela, and Dande rivers, at points where they breach the escarpment to reach the coastal plain. Angola’s national grid, built in the 1970’s, is now aging and in need of an upgrade and rehabilitation. The government also looks to improve the country’s transmission and distribution networks, which were significantly damaged during the 27-year civil war (1975-2002), and to help bring electricity to the country’s remote rural regions.

Electricity is a good that adds massive value to modern life: from having light at night; to wash clothes; cooking meals; running machinery; or connecting with people across the world. Many would argue that it is a crucial for poverty alleviation, economic growth and improved living standards.For the electrification to boost quality of life of her citizen’s. The Republic of Angola is planning to boost national electricity access to 60 percent through grid expansion and large-scale renewable energy projects.

The Angola Energy 2025 Vision and Electric Sector Transformation Process, centres on the growth of generation capacity and grid expansion, as well as the mobilization of private capital with a view to diversify the national economy. The country’s objective is to achieve a 60% electrification rate by 2025, with renewables accounting for more than 7.5% of the mix. Even if it meets that target, 40% of the population will still need access to electricity.

The transmission lines are expected to move from the current 2850 kilometres to 15,600 kilometres by 2025 on lines of 60 kilovolts, 220 kilovolts and 400 kilovolts. The modernisation and extension of the electricity network in the four biggest provinces of Angola, but also to work on improving the performance of the public companies in the sector, the three public companies in the production, transport and distribution sector. As part of the restructuring, some organisations have already been closed down and new state-owned companies created – PRODEL (Empresa PE[bar]blica de ProducEuo de Electricidade) responsible for electricity production; RNT (Rede Nacional de Transporte de Electricidade) responsible for electricity transmission; and ENDE (Empresa Nacional de DistribuicEuo de Electricidade) responsible for electricity distribution.

Moreover, in addition to optimising and extending the national electricity grid, the country should diversify its electricity mix. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) indicate that Angola derives most of its electricity from hydroelectric and thermal power stations with an installed capacity of 6,400 MW. A shift in demand can be seen from conventional power generation sources to renewable technologies. This is helping in the growth of the renewable industry.

Conventional power generation is, however facing tough competition from renewable. The investment required for setting up or modernizing power generation, transmission, or distribution networks are holding back the industry’s growth opportunities. In 2011, it is expected that the government will spend close to USD 1.3 billion (3% of the total budget) on energy. Government plans also call for the development of small hydroelectric power plants to strengthen the agro-industrial sector.

Climate change agreements like the Paris Agreement, in addition to a growing demand for clean power sources are promoting renewable. Renewables are being seen the world over as the future of the power industry, however, conventional sources will be the major source of power in the world during the study period. The transition to renewable will be a gradual and slow process. Angola has set the foundation for the sustainable development of renewable, through investments and supportive measures.

The country is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, although currently assuming no binding targets for emissions reduction. The main instrument of government policy addressing climate change and the non-binding commitments assumed is Presidential Decree No. 88/13 on 14 June. The Ministry of Energy has set up a new directorate responsible for renewable energy to compliment the national electrification department.The technologies being considered are solar, wind, biomass and mini/micro hydro plants. The government is promoting these with the intention of supplying power to schools and clinics; households will be considered at a later stage once an appropriate delivery modality is established.

Nevertheless, despite investments in production, the rate of access to electricity remains rather low, as the grid is able to provide electricity to only about 30 percent of the population in 2017. With 43%, according to the 2018 report of the World Bank. Though financing from China has helped increase Angola’s power generation capacity, over two thirds of the population still has limited or no access to electricity. Main stumbling blocks are the high costs of fossil fuels and electricity distribution as well as an operators’ limited revenue collection, with more than 80% of end-users not metered. The government expects to reach the 6.3 GW capacity target once the Soyo combined- cycle plant and the Laúca hydroelectric project are fully operational. For these and future projects, external financing and private project development will be key.

The construction of photovoltaic solar parks is poised to strengthen electricity supply in Angola and help the Southern African country switch to renewables as well as reduce dependency on fossil fuels. There are seven different solar panel projects, two larger ones close to the capital Luanda and five smaller projects in rural areas. The total capacity will be 370 megawatts (MW) and will make a huge difference in the country’s electricity supply.

Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy Map

More recently, the World Bank approved $250 million to improve the operational performance of the electricity sector utilities and increase electricity access in selected cities of Angola.The Electricity Sector Improvement and Access Project will finance electrification investments in the provinces of Luanda, Benguela, Huila and Huambo, delivering 196,500 new electricity connections that will benefit close to one million people and 93,857 public lights. The project will focus on electricity access expansion and improvement of revenue collection, electricity service improvement, capacity improvement of the public electricity producer PRODEL (Empresa Pública de Produção de Electricidade) and strengthening sustainable management of generation plants.

Identified in USAID findings the situation is more problematic in rural areas where 92% of households do not have access to electricity. It is therefore becoming imperative to diversify the electricity mix while investing in decentralised systems to accelerate the electrification of rural areas. Adopting innovative technologies and digital offerings will make power more affordable, reliable, accessible and sustainable in Angola.

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