Voith Modernizes Generators and Turbines at Inga I Hydropower Station in the Democratic Republic of Congo


For the second time, Voith has been awarded a contract for a hydropower project in Africa: the company will modernize Inga I hydropower station in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project on the River Congo, led by Voith in a consortium with the Spanish Elecnor SA, has a total order volume of approximately EUR 58 million and will be financed by the World Bank situated in Washington D. C., USA.

The contract with the national electricity supplier Société Nationale d Électricité (SNEL) was signed on 24 May 2013. Voith leads the consortium and holds 53 percent of the shares, Elecnor SA is in possession of 47 percent.

Within the scope of Inga I Voith will carry out a comprehensive rehabilitation program for two generator-turbine units inside the hydropower station. The plant entered service at the beginning of the 1970s and has since then completed nearly 260,000 operating hours. Once the old machine sets will have been replaced, the new units, both rated at 55 MW, will continue to contribute to the safe and reliable energy supply of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to the application of modern hydraulics and technologies, Voith will optimize the degree of efficiency of the machines, i. e. the improvement of the ratio between effective output power and input power.

Dr. Roland Münch, President and CEO of Voith Hydro, says: "With this order we are building on our long-standing presence on the African continent." Recently, Voith received an order for equipping Cambambe II hydropower station in Angola and also completed the modernization of Cambambe I.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the African states regarded to have the highest development potential for hydropower throughout Africa. According to the "World Atlas Hydropower & Dam 2012,“ as many as 100 GW of power could be utilized here in theory. Although only five percent of the technically feasible potential is currently being harnessed in the central African country, the proportion of hydropower in the overall electricity production of the Democratic Republic of Congo amounts to approximately 99 percent. For this reason, hydropower can in future assume an increasingly central role in the country s economic development.

Many other African states are also relying on stable energy supplies through hydropower, in order to provide their growing populations and emerging economies reliably with renewable energy. The hydropower potential on the African continent is estimated to amount to some 400 GW, but only 25 GW have been developed so far.

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