News / Africa

Gabon Boosts Energy Power Generation

The construction of one of the hydroelectric dam at Poubara‏, which the government is financing. It is one of many dams under construction to meet the energy demands of anticipated investment companies.
The construction of one of the hydroelectric dam at Poubara‏, which the government is financing. It is one of many dams under construction to meet the energy demands of anticipated investment companies.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Patrick Rodrigue Yalis Ongala, the director of electricity at Gabon’s Ministry of Mining, Energy, Oil & Hydraulic Resources.

Peter Clottey
This is Part Two of a six-part series on Gabon
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

 

Gabon has begun upgrading its electrical power and distribution facilities to meet industry and residential demands, according to a government official involved in the project.

“There was a high rise in demand from the local population as well as industry,” said Patrick Rodrigue Yalis Ongala, the director of electricity at Gabon’s Ministry of Mining, Energy, Oil & Hydraulic Resources. “That’s why the government decided to upgrade [older] dams and is now constructing new ones.”

Officials say energy demand in the capital, Libreville, and surrounding areas is 183 Megawatts (MW).  A report by the Oxford Business Group (OBG) notes demand is growing by up to 5 percent per year, which includes demands for electricity from rural areas.

But the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says only 36 % of all Gabonese have access to electricity, most of them in urban areas.  The group says over 900,000 people, largely in the countryside, lack access.
    
The EIA says that while Gabon has “vast potential to expand” its hydroelectric power, “the country lacks adequate infrastructure,” especially in rural areas, to take advantage of its natural resources.

In its report, the Oxford Business Group noted that Gabon was already working with China to help finance a doubling of its electrical transmission lines, but mainly in the Libreville region.

Development experts also note the importance of rural access to electricity, saying it spurs economic development and helps promote improvements in healthcare and education.  

To meet growing energy needs, the government is planning to build more power-producing dams, which the EIA says today account for only about 9 percent of all energy production.  Most production now comes from the use of petroleum or from biomass and waste.   

Ongala said the government’s intention is to increase overall electrical power production from 374 MW to 1200 MW by 2020.

He said to meet that objective not only by building new hydro-electric dams, but gas powered plants and a heavy fuel power station.

“We are expecting 160 megawatts of energy, in which 75 percent will be dedicated to the Mwanda factory and the rest of the 25 percent will be for the population network,” Ongala said of one new project. “We are constructing another dam in the southern region to produce about 84 megawatts, and also in the northern side on the Okano River, which will produce 54 megawatts of electricity.”

China’s Sinohydro Company will build the hydroelectric dam in Haut Ogooue province. The project began in late 2008, with an estimated cost of $ 374,259,849.

Ongala predicted the new dam will produce electricity to meet the country’s energy needs.

And if there’s enough left over, he said, power will be exported to neighboring countries in Central Africa.

Development specialists welcome the construction of hydroelectric plants though they note provisions should be included to provide for potential erosion or the diversion of water used by some communities for drinking or for agriculture.  

The experts also say Gabon’s plans – as with those for other African countries -- will need to provide for the improvement of transmission facilities.  In many countries, the electrical power infrastructure was built before independence and poorly maintained since.  

Much of that infrastructure is now obsolete.  The development experts say energy plans should be all encompassing. Rural areas need to take advantage of alternative energy sources, including solar, wind and biomass.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid