28 March 2012 – Electricity demand in Gabon’s capital, Libreville, and its surrounds is estimated at 183 MW and this is expected to increase at about 6% to 8% a year. At the same time, the country’s government plans to increase national power production from 374 MW to 1,200 MW by 2020.
The ambition is to achieve universal electricity access, with excess power to be exported to neighbouring countries in central Africa. The build plans include new hydroelectric dams, gas powered thermal plants and a heavy fuel power station.
Existing hydroelectric facilities that provide 166 MW serve about 55% of Gabon’s demand. These include a hydroelectric facility at Tchimbele that generates 69 MW, a hydroelectric facility at Kinguele over the M’bei River that produces 56 MW and one at Poubara on the Ogooue Rive produces that 36 MW. This power is supplemented by gas thermal plants that account for 140 MW and a heavy fuel power station that can generate 30 MW.
A new 160 MW hydroelectric facility is being built in the country’s Haut Ogooue province by China’s Sinohydro company, at a cost of some US$375 million, the project having begun in November 2008. The first of four generators at this facility is scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2012, with the overall project due to be completed by mid 2013. The country is also developing a new 84 MW facility in its southern region and a 54 MW facility on the northern side of the Okano River.

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