Construction about to begin at Kinguele Aval hydro

25 August 2021

Financial closure has been declared for the Kinguele Aval hydropower project in Gabon, Central Africa.

The 35MW run-of-the-river hydro-power plant lies on the M’Bei River, 90km east of the capital Libreville.
The facility is designed to address a national electricity capacity deficit and will support the diversification of the economy, bringing low-cost, renewable power generation to the capital.

The plant will comprise a 48m-high, 250m-long conventional concrete gravity dam with 210m-long embankment dam diverting water to a surface power house. This will use three 2.8m-diameter GRP penstocks laid in 210m-long trenches at an average gradient of 15%. Maximum flow rate will be 90m3/sec.

Having flowed through the powerhouse turbines, water will be channelled into a 323m-long tailrace canal that will be part-excavated in rock. As ‘run-of-the-river’, the plant will not regulate river flows, so all inflows into the reservoir will be transferred immediately through the turbines and thence downstream.

Mott MacDonald (MM) is technical, environmental and social advisor on the project. The firm undertook technical due diligence on the HEP plant, which included a review of the plant design, including geology and geotechnical aspects, hydrology resources and energy yield forecasts, as well as a review of commercial considerations. It also carried out detailed due diligence on all environmental and social aspects.

MM will continue to monitor construction which is due to begin this summer. The firm has worked on behalf of the project lenders: the International Finance Corp, African Development Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, acting through its duly authorised agent Ninety One.