Between 21 and 22 May, the thematic forum “Promoting Grid Interconnection to Advance Hydropower Development in Africa” was held in Beijing, and attended by delegates and representatives from international organizations, Chinese and foreign power enterprises and research institutions such as the Agency for the Development and Promotion of Grand Inga (ADPI-RDC), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Eskom, China Three Gorges International Cooperation, and China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute. Participates have discussed the significance of energy interconnection to hydropower development in Africa and the future prospects, and called on all sides to innovate international cooperation mechanisms, develop transnational and intercontinental clean power consumption markets, establish new investment and financing models, and accelerate the implementation of large-scale hydropower and interconnection projects to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The forum was jointly organized by the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and the International Hydropower Association. Bruno Kapandji Kalala, director of the ADPI-RDC, Mosad, Senior Energy Adviser to the NEPAD and representatives of the Eskom attended the forum and delivered keynote speeches.
Representatives of GEIDCO introduce the concept of Global Energy Interconnection and research results related to hydropower development in Africa, emphasizing that hydropower together with other new energies is the future of clean energy. Global Energy Interconnection will accelerate hydropower development worldwide, realize mutual support between different clean energies in a wide range, and build an energy allocation platform that is clean energy-dominant, electric-centric, globally interconnected, jointly constructed and mutually beneficial to all. Constructing major global power transmission channels composed of nine latitudinal and nine longitudinal grids helps to allocate clean energy power around the world and achieve cross-time-zone and cross-season mutual support in a greater scale.
Bruno Kapandji Kalala introduced the attendees to the Grand Inga hydroelectric project and further plans, and spoke highly of the role of the GEIDCO in promoting Grand Inga’s development. He said that the ADPI-RDC would like to deepen cooperation with the GEIDCO to jointly promote the development of the Global Energy Interconnection. Participating representatives and experts particularly discussed jointly developing cross-region and cross-basin hydropower and power grid, planning for the coordinated development of hydropower and other new energies, the construction of regional power market, and the promotion of intensive development and extensive allocation of clean energy.
It is understood that hydropower development and grid interconnection mutually support and develop in a coordinated way. On the one hand, hydropower development and utilization promote transnational and intercontinental grid interconnection as well as international trade in clean energy power. On the other hand, grid interconnection provides a platform for the large-scale development and transmission of hydropower, realizing the optimal allocation and efficient use of hydropower in a wider range. Taking Africa and China as an example, the hydropower development in Guinea Sambagalu and Ethiopia Gibe III has accelerated the construction of interconnection channels in the countries along the river and helped to achieve the shared consumption of regional hydropower. The grid interconnection of China’s Sichuan, Chongqing, and Hubei Province has greatly increased the scale of hydropower transmission from the southwest, the range of consumption, and the ability to adjust uneven hydropower generation throughout the year.