June 02, 2022

Gesto experts selected to be part of the EU-TAF team developing the GT088 – Specific Support Study on Hydro Reservoir and Pumped Storage Plants

The Africa Energy Ministers, during the AU Specialized Technical Committee meeting on Infrastructure (Transport, Energy and Tourism) held in Nouakchott and Cairo in 2018 and 2019 respectively, tasked the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) to lead the development of a Continental Power System (Transmission and Generation) Masterplan (CMP).

To ensure that AUDA-NEPAD kick-started the process towards developing the CMP, the European Union Technical Assistance Facility (EU TAF) agreed to support a Baseline Study covering the generation and transmission systems through its ongoing support to the African Union Commission (AUC), under assignment EU TAF CW 235. This Study assumed that each power pool independently planned its generation and transmission investments, based on its own regional policy objectives.

To this end, Gesto’s experts will participate, as part of the EU-TAF team that will develop the assessment the potential contribution of Hydro Reservoir and Pumped Storage Plants and to support the modelling of the CMP and investigate possibilities for cooperation and financial support by various cooperation partners for implementation.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Source: EU Global Technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Energy (EU GTAF)

The model which will be used for the development of the CMP requires specific technical and economic inputs for the different technologies which will be considered as well as detailed information on the available technical potential, ideally at the level of each country. The potential of each technology should be assessed along with datasets necessary for modelling, such as dispatching, seasonal variability and predictability.

Furthermore, the formulation of the policy scenarios will require several informed assumptions on (i) the effect of funding options and mechanisms for the projects to be considered in CMP, and the (ii) regulatory and institutional issues which could affect the deployment of technologies, the market development and the level of electricity trading.

The most interesting cases out of the potential projects for hydro reservoir and pumped storage plants across the continent need to be identified and used as input to the modelling of the CMP or for sensitivity studies of the CMP model. More specifically, this assignment will:

  • Review ongoing Hydro power and Pumped Storage energy initiatives on the continent,
  • Assess the geographical distribution of Hydro power and Pumped Storage potential on the continent (consider both off grid and on grid potential),
  • Assess the existing Hydro power and Pumped storage installations installed generation capacity as well as planned investments, by region and available sources of financing, for the medium term (2030) to long term (2040 to 2050),
  • Identify scenarios for increasing Hydro power and Pumped Storage penetration in Africa’s storage mix and role in reducing the emission factor of the interconnected Africa electricity supply generation mix,
  • Assessment of grid readiness and challenges for grid connectivity while considering the implications in enabling the role of other variable renewables such as wind and solar,
  • Evaluate the development of costs of hydro power and pumped storage technologies in a medium term (2030) to long term (2040 and 2050) horizon associated with ongoing technological and efficiency improvements,
  • Assess the seasonal and interannual (wet / dry years) variability of hydropower in Africa, as the value of a hydro power plant for the system depends on which season this will be most active, as well as the spatio-seasonal synergies between hydropower and variable renewable energy generation.
  • Provide recommendations for overcoming identified barriers for pumped storage into regional masterplans (CMP, AfSEM and AfCFTA).

This assignment will also identify the risks and both technical and non-technological barriers to the hydro power and pumped storage deployment and the development processes, in order to shape an outlook of the potential feasible hydro power production until 2040 and 2050.