3 September 2009 – The Chinese construction company Sinohydro has reached a preliminary agreement to take over the 200 megawatt Memve’ele hydropower station located in southern Cameroon. The Memve’ele hydropower station project is expected to be operational by December 2014, with construction work due to begin in March.
This particular project involves building a dam on the Ntem River in Cameroon’s Southern region as well as constructing a road to the project site. Additionally it will require a power plant with electricity transmission lines to link the entire site to the national grid. The northern regions of the Congo Republic, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea are also due to benefit from the electricity generated.
Cameroon depends on hydropower for 95 percent of its energy supply. Only 5 percent of the country’s rural population and 65 percent of urban dwellers currently have access to electricity. Demand for electricity continues to grow at a rate of 8 percent per annum, and although the country’s sole power utility, AES-Sonel, has increased energy output to about 936 Megawatts over the last five years, this figure continues to fall short of actual demand.
Cameroon authorities hope to finalize this agreement with SinoHydro as soon as possible as it proves to offer significant and integral infrastructure support to the nation as well as its West African neighbors.