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Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility Societe Nationale d'Electricite. The Société National d'Electricité, known as SNE, is the state owned organization responsible for electricity generation and supply. The company reports to the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Hydrocarbons. Electricite de France (EDF) has shown interest in SNE in the past and has offered aid in the refurbishment of Brazzaville’s infrastructure. The Congolese government liberalized the electricity sector when they passed a law in 2003.

Congo has a large, but unexploited potential for hydroelectric expansion – as much as 3000 MW. The current power generation capacity of the country is 118 MW, with Bouenza (74 MW) and Djoué (15 MW) hydroelectric plants the largest facilities. The majority of Congo’s installed capacity is hydro-powered. Over 98% of the country's power production is hydroelectric. Two Hydroelectric power stations operate on rivers near Brazzaville and thermal stations operate in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire.

Electricity consumption in Congo is low, as the country has a large rural population for whom the primary source of fuel is wood. Electricity transmission links are poor in many parts of the country, and these, coupled with the effects of the civil war of recent years, have contributed to a disrupted power supply service. Officials from SNE estimate that the cost of necessary repairs to the generating facilities at 15 billion CFA ($20.4 million). Electricity consumption has been estimated at 588 million kWh, while generation is around 500 kWh. Congo is thus a net importer of power, with one-quarter of its power purchased from SNEL in the Democratic Republic of the Congo via a 220 kV interconnection.

Congo plans to reduce its reliance on electricity imports by expanding current facilities and constructing additional generation facilities. Expansions in the oil industry and other areas of the Congolese economy have led to the revival of the Sounda Gorge hydro-electric power project first mooted in 1952.

Plans & Projects

Congo’s dependence on electricity imports is set to change with a number of proposals for expansion of current facilities and construction of new plants.

  • The call for tenders for engaging in repairing the electrical networks in Brazaville was launched on 10 April, 2010 and it was considered on 17th May in the presence of Jean-Jacques Bouya (head of the public works department), a representative from the Ministry of Energy and Water as well as companies’ representatives. The purchaser will be published once the sub-committee has assessed the management unit procurement. The government’s option to equip the town with reliable and modern electricity network is salutary. Energy production sources, thermal power stations as well as transport lines at very high voltage are being constructed everywhere in the country and namely in Imboulou.
  • The energy sector in the Congo is full of opportunities that are crucial for the development of the country. Russia, meanwhile, has extensive experience in the field of energy and power plant construction.
    Today, Russia is determined to increase the transfer of technology in Africa. It therefore seeks to collaborate further with the Congo.
    Since the business in the Congo Brazzaville has improved considerably over the last year, all conditions are met for both countries to discuss further cooperation in this strategic sector.
    During their meeting, the Russian ambassador and the Congolese Minister of Energy discussed the plans to build a new power plant, modernization of the existing ones, creating a better transport of electricity and the electricity situation in Brazzaville in general.
  • In February 2005, Asssociated Press announced that a South African-led consortium was planning a Congo River project that will nearly double Africa's current electricity output without harming the environment. The project will generate about 40,000 megawatts of electricity and will be activated in phases over a yet-to-be determined period of time. In the first phase, Eskom - together with the power utilities of Angola, Botswana, Congo and Namibia - will rehabilitate and upgrade two dams along the Inga rapids on the Congo river within four to six years and generate about 9,500 megawatts of electricity for 12 southern African countries. At least half of the project's electricity will be produced through a process that diverts river water through electricity-generating turbines before funneling it back into the Congo river. The project which is estimated at US$50 billion (euro37.9 billion) will be funded in part by the respective governments under the New Partnership for African Development, a program adopted by the African Union for the economic development of Africa.

Key Figures

  • Electricity produced: 400 million KWh (2007)
  • Electricity consumed: 471 million KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Exported: 0 KWh (2008)
  • Electricity Imported: 449 million KWh (2007)

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