Drought impacting hydropower efficacy
Hydropower is a critical energy source that should not be rejected but retooled in the face of increasing droughts, writes Tusekile Kibonde, Resident Underwriter at Africa Trade Insurance Agency (ATI).
There was a time, in the not too distant past, when the word hydro in relation to electricity generation and large hydropower projects such as dams was taboo. Large hydropower projects, particularly in developing regions, fell out of favour due to several factors – the financial crises in the second half of the 1990s and reduced lending from development banks due to pressures from groups concerned about the environmental and social impacts.
Today investments in hydropower are still under pressure due to, lack of strong regulatory environments, large upfront costs and long project development times. The average project takes 2 to 10 years to develop and 6–48 months to construct. To compound the situation further, environmental and social impact still plays a pivotal role in the viability of a project – chief among them is drought.