The agreement signed on 4 October saw the four partners take equity stakes in the project developer, Compagnie Générale d’Hydroélectricité de Volobe (CGHV), which has been granted a 35-year concession to design, build and operate the independent power project under a public private partnership with the Government of Madagascar.
Jovena, a subsidiary of the Franco-Malagasy Axian Group, will hold a 40 per cent stake with 25 per cent stakes held by Norway’s hydropower development group SN Power and Africa50, a pan-African infrastructure investment platform, and 10 per cent by Colas, a local civil engineering group. Jovena, a leading local industrial player, will provide institutional support, while Africa50 will offer expertise in project development and financing. SN Power will bring technical and operational know-how and Colas will supply experience in the development of infrastructure on Madagascar, according to a press statement.
Volobe is designed to generate average annual output of 750 GWh, equivalent to the electricity supply of more than 360 000 households or nearly 2 million people, upon its scheduled commissioning in 2023. The project is designed to meet the supply needs of the eastern city of Toamasina, the second largest city in Madagascar, as well as the interconnected network of the capital, Antananarivo. The project will involve the construction of a 25 m-high, 330 m-long RCC dam, which will impound a reservoir with a storage capacity of about 15 x 106 m3, and an underground powerhouse, located roughly 3 km downstream of the dam, which will be equipped with six Francis turbines with capacity of about 20 MW each, and will generate under a gross head of 136 m. Volobe is designed to operate as a run-of-river plant during the rainy season, generating baseload power for the grid from December to April, and as a peaking and baseload plant during the rest of the year.
It is one of two hydropower plants that are being developed in parallel to meet the Government’s objectives of doubling electricity production, reducing the cost of generation and expanding access to electricity to the population. The 200 MW Sahofika project on the river Onive, about 100 km south of Antananarivo, is being developed by Nouvelle Energie Hydroélectrique de l’Onive (NEHO), a consortium comprising Eranove, the pan-African power and water utility based in France, France’s civil engineering giant Eiffage, and clean energy investment group Themis, based in Morocco.