AfDB invests $530m to connect Angolan electricity grids   

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Transmission line will link northern renewable surplus to diesel-dependent south.

The African Development Bank has committed more than half a billion dollars to the construction of a 343 km, 400 kV transmission line between Angola’s northern and southern electricity grids. The move is seen as vital to boosting both the financial and environmental sustainability of the country.  

The north of Angola has a significant energy surplus thanks to extensive renewables investment, while the south is dependent on diesel generators that are subsidised by government to keep energy affordable. So, the new line, which will provide more than 2,000MW of expanded transmission capacity, is expected to eliminate the need for diesel-generators in southern provinces. 

The finance package consists of $480m in financing from the bank, along with $50 from the Africa Growing Together Fund – a $2bn facility sponsored by the People’s Bank of China and administered by the African Development Bank. 

Once complete, the new transmission will reduce diesel consumption by 26.8 billion litres per year, cutting 80 megatons of CO2 emissions. It will also save the Angolan government $130m per year in diesel subsidies.  

Around 80% of residential customers in Angola are presently not metered, resulting in financial losses and reliance on government subsidies. So, the country’s Energy Sector Efficiency and Expansion Programme – of which the transmission line is just one phase – will also install 860,000 pre-paid meters and will connect 400,000 new customers to the grid with effective metering for the first time. 

Angola has undergone significant reform of its energy sector in recent years, including the creation of an independent regulator and the unbundling of the sector. The country has also significantly improved capacity, operational efficiency and sustainability, almost trebling installed capacity between 2015 and 2019.