3 June 2008 – The Cameroon Government has signed a partnership accord with the US to carry out feasibility studies for the conversion of a heavy fuel pipeline to a gas plant in Limbe, Southwest Province.
It also involves the setting up of a hydropower plant in Bini River in Warak, Ngaoundere and the Adamawa Province. The feasibility studies are the first step of the country’s power expansion plans.
At a ceremony in Yaounde, Water and Energy Minister, Jean Bernard Sindeu, signed on behalf of Cameroon, while Janet Garvey signed in her capacity US Ambassador to Cameroon.
The occasion was also attended by the Regional Director of the executing agency; US Trade and Development Agency, USTDA, Paul Marin.These projects, when realised, will lead to the generation of an additional 400 mega watts of electricity.
The Limbe project (gas to power) will provide 315 mega watts of additional electricity and subsequent upgrading of the transmission network linking Limbe and its environs. It will also induce increased supply of Liquid Petroleum Gas, LPG, extractable from natural gas supplied offshore Limbe/Etinde field.
The Bini hydropower project would provide an additional 75 mega watts generation capacity and increase access to energising industrial customers, rural electrification. It is hoped that any excess would be exported to neighbouring countries like Chad and Nigeria.
Both projects will also provide business opportunities to local entrepreneurs for the supply of goods and services. The feasibility studies are expected to end latest December 2009, paving the way to the construction and operation of the Limbe project – 2010/2011- and the Bini project – 2010/2013.
The increased use of electricity in homes and business centres by a growing Cameroon population has raised the electricity scarcity resulting in frequent power cuts.
The US Ambassador said it is to curb this that the US Government has decided to fund the feasibility and banking studies of the two projects. The electricity sector has remained undeveloped with failed rural electrification projects.
Street demonstrations and now threats of public agitation against exorbitant electricity bills prompted the government to seek technical and financial assistance.