has been delayed by about a year , as the project became mired down in allegations of corruption and impropriety that reach all the way up to South Africa ’ s Department of Water and Sanitation . Upon completion , the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is expected to provide about 1 000MW of power to Lesotho , and water to South Africa ’ s Gauteng province .
Smaller hydropower projects currently being developed include the 3MW Sol Plaatje scheme , the 4MW Merino project and the 400MW Palmiet project .
Nonetheless , research shows that all feasible large-scale hydro potential has now been tapped , and that pure hydro contributes about 1.5 % of national electricity supply in an average year in South Africa .
“ There is also 1 400MW of pumped storage capacity in operation , with 1 332MW under construction ( Ingula ). Earlier this year ( 2016 ), the first two units at Ingula were synchronised to the grid .
All four units should be in operation by next year ( 2017 ),” says the Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2016 .
“ Meanwhile , feasibility studies have been undertaken for two more pumped storage schemes in either the Western or Eastern Cape ( 1 000MW ), and another 120MW of pure hydro is being studied on the Orange River , just below the Vanderkloof Dam .”
In terms of smaller hydropower projects , studies carried out in 2010 indicate that up to 47MW could be developed at small schemes in the future . Currently , 61MW of small hydro capacity is in operation at four plants , producing 350GWh per year .
“ The 10MW Neusberg plant , on the Orange River , went ahead in March last year ( 2015 ); it is the first run-of-river hydro scheme to be developed under South Africa ’ s Renewable Energy Power Producers ’ Programme . Output will be sold to Eskom under a 20-year PPA [ power purchase agreement ]. The plant is owned by Kakamas Hydro Electric