In a company statement, Wärtsilä confirmed that last week the energy firm was appointed the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Smart Power Generation plant in the west African country.
Once completed, the power plant’s generation capacity will be supplied to CECA SL Generation Ltd, a local company co-owned by CEC Africa Investments and TCQ Power.
“We wanted a best quality product and firm. Wärtsilä is an experienced EPC contractor in Africa, and their engines are easy to operate and inexpensive to maintain,” TCQ Power’s chief executive officer, Karim Nasser, said.
New power station to provide reliable electricity
According to Nasser, the new power station will provide reliable and efficient 24-hour electricity to the locals, which eventually will facilitate the country’s economic growth.
“We hope this project will mark the beginning of a new era in the country,” Nasser stated.
Electricity access in Sierra Leone is said to be amongst the lowest in the world with less than 15% of the population having access to the grid.
The existing installed system capacity serving Freetown, the country’s capital city, totals about 84MW, which is predominantly supplied from hydro resources.
The company statement highlighted that the 57MW heavy oil fuel-fired power plant is responding to a critical need for baseload generation capacity.
Last month, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), announced to have committed $27 million to support the development.
IFC also acted as the lead arranger and interest rate swap provider to mobilise a further $109 million in long-term financing from other development finance institutions, which include African Development Bank, CDC Group plc (the United Kingdom’s development finance institution), Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, and FMO (the Dutch development bank).
Smart Power Generation plant
The turn-key order is reported to include six Wärtsilä 32 engines running on heavy fuel oil and the plant is expected to be operational within 18 months from the ground-breaking.
The global energy provider stated that on completion of the project, the availability of energy in Sierra Leone will increase by 40%.
The company’s scope also includes 1.3km of fuel pipeline from a jetty to the site, and 8km of overhead power lines.
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