The construction of the 57MW Western Area Power Generation Project in Sierra Leone has officially commenced.
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, led the ground-breaking ceremony at the future power plant site.
Working alongside CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, and TCQ Power, who have been developing and financing the project, Africa’s independent power company, Globeleq, will develop and oversee the construction and operations of the Western Area Power Generation Project located in the Kissy Dock area, approximately 4km east of the centre of Freetown.
“We are very excited at the opportunity to participate with CDC and TCQ in Sierra Leone,” Globeleq’s CEO, Paul Hanrahan remarked.
The appointed engineering, procurement and construction contractor, Wärtsilä, will design and build the plant, and once completed will provide full operations and maintenance services to the plant for 15 years.
Two expansions of the plant to 128MW are envisaged but have not yet been planned, the African IPP noted in a statement.
BB Energy, an independent energy trading company, will provide HFO under a 15-year fuel supply agreement and electricity will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with EDSA, the Sierra Leone state owned utility, and the Government of Sierra Leone.
The project will benefit from World Bank Group support provided by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the World Bank’s International Development Agency (IDA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which acted as the lead arranger.
The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group and managed by Investec Asset Management, acted as structuring bank. Other lenders include CDC, FMO, and the African Development Bank.
Sameh Shenouda, CDC’s Director and Head of Infrastructure commented: “The ground-breaking of the Western Area Power Generation Project is an important step in increasing Sierra Leone’s electricity generation potential.
“CDC is playing an important and growing role in supporting economic development in Sierra Leone and our support for the project will increase the country’s baseload capacity by more than 50%.”
Karim Nasser, CEO, TCQ Power added: “This ground-breaking event moves us closer to delivering more electricity to the people of Sierra Leone and unlocking opportunities for growth.
“TCQ has been working on the project since 2012 and we are extremely proud to reach this critical milestone together with our partners. This power station represents a monumental step forward for the country and clearly demonstrates the government’s ability to draw private investment into complex infrastructure projects.”
Nasser added: “All this could not have been possible without the government’s implementation of bold and decisive reforms to make the energy sector bankable."