As a sign of commitment in the upgrading electricity supply in the country, the government has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a private provider, Copperbelt Energy Cooperation (CEC) Africa to provide a-128 Megawatts Thermal Station to augment electricity output in Freetown to 50 megawatts.
The first phase of the project to last eighteen months was officially signed on 14th May 2014 by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah. Looking forward, the Minister noted that the idea that private sector contributions to the energy sector outside the mainstream energy source in the Capital, as outlined in the CEC-Africa agreement, is to ensure private sector contribution to the development and transformation of the country’s economy.
These were disclosed to the press yesterday at the Ministry of Energy. The agreement governs the terms of investment in a power generation plant and the provision of the generated power to Sierra Leone and was ratified by Parliament on May 29th this year.
According to the Technical Director of CEC-Africa, Emmanuel Katepa, consortium is the African development arm of CEC Plc, a publicly listed and the leading Namibian energy group that currently has investments in Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia in both power distribution and generation. He said the project consists of the building and operation of a-128 MW power plant over a concession period of 20 years.
He maintained that the project will be implemented in three phases; the first phase will provide 50MW by 2015, the second phase to provide 39MW in 18 months after the completion of the first phase and the final phase to provide 39MW will be online 18 months after the second phase. He said as a consortium, they are proud of their achievement with the Government of Sierra Leone. “As an African power infrastructure developer, we are happy for laying this strong foundation for our long partnership with the Government and people of Sierra Leone,” adding that the company has intentions to explore other opportunities in the country as they may arise.
Katepa assured that the phases of the project will be implemented in line with “highest international standards” noting that due care will be taken to minimize the unwanted environmental and social impacts both at the construction and operational phases of the project. He said the consortium has already started the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies
Representing National Power Authority (NPA), the Technical Service Manager, Alhaji Timbo, thanked government for its timely intervention in saving the management from its worries with the signing of the project. He asserted that the project will boost the electricity power supply output of NPA in the next 18 months. He disclosed that in 2007, the country relied on 4MW power supply from the Kingtom Power Plant and that it was gradually built up from 17MW to 21 MW, and that currently, Freetown is supplied a total of 25MW of power collectively supplied by Bumbuna Hydro Electricity Project, Kingtom Power Station and Black Hall Road Power Station.
The Deputy Director, Energy Directorate in the Ministry of Energy, Paul Saffa, said the content of the project is a fine example that can be replicated to any other Independent Power Producer Agency. He said with the completion of the project NPA will be able to supply factories and mining companies, adding that with such power generation capability, the revenue generation of government will improve. He said the Ministry continues to lookout for other Independent Power Producers to come and invest in the country’s electricity sector by providing and selling power to NPA National Greed.
The Coordinator Public Private Partnership Unit, Office of the President, Abu Bakarr Kamara, disclosed that Sierra Leone as a nation needs effective and reliable energy supply to augment efforts made in the country’s infrastructural development. He maintained that government will continue to absorb the political risk as private sector takes the financial and management risks. He described the project and the contract as a-win-win for both parties.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Tuesday June 03, 2014