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The World Bank has received 25 expressions of interest, including a few from South Africa, to conduct a financial feasibility study for the third phase of the Inga hydroelectric power station in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Inga 3 was likely to cost between $5 billion (R38 billion) and $7 billion, said World Bank financial specialist Pankaj Gupta.
The World Bank last week closed the tender for the financial feasibility report to add at least 4 500 megawatts to the power station's capacity.
Eskom senior general manager Pat Naidoo said yesterday that the funding for Inga 3 was likely to come from Group of Eight countries, the Africa Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the World Bank.
Inga is run by the Western Corridor (Westcor), a venture equally owned by the power utilities from Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Namibia and South Africa.
The prefeasibility study for the project was likely to be completed before the end of this year.
The feasibility studies, funded by a $14 million grant from the African Development Bank, should be completed before money can be raised for the project.
"There is a growing urgency for new generation capacity in southern Africa," said Naidoo.
South Africa was likely to continue importing 10 percent of its electricity needs, Naidoo said.
Over the next four years, Westcor member countries are set to add 5 300MW, of which 4 360MW will be generated in South Africa.
Another project on the cards is increasing the output of Kwanza River station in Angola, which could add 6 700MW to the Westcor system.
Construction of Inga 3 was likely to start in 2009, with completion scheduled between 2012 and 2015.
The first phase of Inga was commissioned in 1972 and the second in 1982, with total output at 1 775MW.
The Inga power station on the Congo River, about 250km from Kinshasa, benefits from exceptionally regular flow of the world's second-largest river after the Amazon.
The prefeasibility and feasibility studies at Kwanza are set to be completed by 2009, with construction starting in 2010 and power generation in 2012.
On completion, the Kwanza River and Inga 3 power stations will produce 10 000MW of power.
News date: 26/10/2006