Chinese companies building hydropower projects in Nigeria and Kenya

NIGERIA, KENYA - Chinese companies continue to make headway in African markets with the construction of infrastructure and engineering projects.

In Nigeria, China Geo-Engineering Corporation will build a 100-megawatt (MW) hydropower plant for the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the Zamfara state government. In Kenya, Sinohydro Corporation will construct the 20-MW Sangoro hydro power project.

The Nigerian project, located in the Gotwa Dam village, will have the potential to provide irrigation for 10,000 hectares of land for the production of rice and tomatoes downstream from the 2 billion-cubic-meter dam.

The project is seen as being more appropriate for the region compared to some of the ambitious thermal power projects launched in other Nigerian states that have had a checkered success rate in coming to completion. The $163 million Zamfara project will cost less than a thermal plant of similar capacity and is scheduled to start providing power to the national grid in the first quarter of 2011.

Finance for the project will come from the China-Import/Export Bank and will be guaranteed by Sofitel Capital Corporation and Intercontinental Bank Plc, who will maintain the project for seven years. Discussions are currently taking place between Zamfara's government and PHCN on a power-purchase agreement to cover the plant's output.

The Kenyan project is due to start construction in November with Nippon Koei Company Limited acting as consultant for Sinohydro. The companies were awarded the contract by KenGen in competitive bidding with other international groups.

The Sangoro power plant will be located about 5 kilometers downstream from the Sondu/Miriu power station at the end of a project tunnel. It will use the 39.9-cubic-meter-per-second water discharge from Sondu with a head of 62.2 meters. The power generated at Sangoro will be in addition to the 60 MW generated by Sondu/Miriu when it is fully commissioned.

Power from the Sangoro project is scheduled to be fed into the national grid in the second half of 2011.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has provided initial funding of $51 million for the $65 million project.


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