Joint venture to boost Sierra Leone’s hydropower capacity

The government of Sierra Leone has entered into a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with energy firm Joule Africa for the expansion of hydropower plants.

Under the agreement, Joule Africa and its local partner Energy Services Company (ESCO), through joint ownership of the newly formed Seli Hydropower, will build an extension of the existing 50MW hydropower station, Bumbuna I, adding a further 143MW of power capacity.

A company statement further revealed that construction on the extension of Bumbuna II is anticipated to start by mid-2018 with operations forecast to start four years later, Water power magazine reported.

Seli Hydropower Responsibilities

Seli Hydropower will be responsible for building, owning and operating Bumbuna II.

Patrick Beckley, executive chairman of Seli Hydropower Limited and chairman of ESCO, said: “The development of Bumbuna II has always been a key part of the country’s energy strategy and we look forward to being able to deliver a value-for-money solution for Sierra Leone’s electricity distribution and supply authority, EDSA, and affordable, all-year round power for the consumers of Sierra Leone.”

Beckley added: “Joule Africa has been operating in Sierra Leone since 2010 and has built up some very strong relationships in-country during that time. We have also in place an in-house team very capable of delivering and operating this hydro project, safely and reliably.”

Seli Hydropower is now in the process of appointing an experienced contractor and finalising the funding, both of which are well underway, the company said in a statement.

Long-term Energy Strategy

Also commenting on the project was President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma: “The government of Sierra Leone is prioritising power generation and seeks to increase accessibility by the population to electricity as part of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

“As part of this, Sierra Leone has set itself a target of increasing the proportion of households with access to electricity, via the national grid, from 13.5% at the end of 2015 to 30% by the end 2030. The successful construction and operation of both Phase I and II of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Power Project form a critical part of the Government of Sierra Leone’s long-term energy strategy,” the President added.

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