Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 July 2020:
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Energy last week announced that it has reached agreement with Joule Africa, the developer of the Bumbuna II Hydroelectric Power Plant (“the Project”) over the cost and funding mechanism of the project.
The government, nor Joule Africa has disclosed the total value of the deal, other than saying that “the Minister of Energy has authorised for the remaining work needed to finalise the development of the Project subject to the approval of Cabinet and Parliament.
“The financing of the project will require infusion of funds by government through a combination of Grant funding and Concessional Loans for on-lending to the Project Company. Government has consulted with many Development Partners who have expressed willingness to support the project on these terms.
“Construction is forecast to start in 2021 and when completed in around 2025, will double the available generation capacity in Sierra Leone, enabling industry to be more competitive by providing access to the lowest cost generation source of power throughout the year, and in addition, providing a low-carbon backbone for the future development of the energy sector. At the peak of project construction, up to 2,500 local jobs will be created.”
Announcing the agreement, the Minister of Energy said: “We are pleased to have been able to attract and retain high quality sponsors and investors for this Project. Achieving this important milestone, many years in the making, demonstrates that Sierra Leone is a country in which large scale infrastructure investment can succeed.” (Photo above: Energy minister Kanja Sesay and Head of SELI in August 2018).
Paul Kunert, CEO, of Joule Africa, responded: “This agreement marks a great step forward for the Project. The Project will provide affordable sustainable electricity for the country, enabling economic flourishing of the local communities and the country as a whole; we are now working flat-out to finalize additional financing commitments to guarantee start of construction in 2021.”
Bumbuna II is a key component of the Government of Sierra Leone’s long-term Energy Plan. Bumbuna II will be located on the Upper Seli River in North East Sierra Leone, and involves building of an extension to the existing 50 MW Bumbuna I facility, as well as the creation of 115 km2 Reservoir 30km upstream at Yiben. When complete, Bumbuna II will add 143MW of new capacity and provide a minimum of 80MW of reliable, all-year round affordable electricity.
Joule Africa is a developer-owner-operator of sustainable power projects across Africa with offices in London, Freetown, Yaounde and Port Louis. Joule Africa is currently developing renewable energy assets in Sierra Leone and Cameroon, whilst simultaneously seeking to assist with the development of further projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
The company says that it puts sustainable development and transparency at the heart of its business practice, and that through the development and operation of sustainable energy assets, Joule Africa is committed to significantly increasing access to energy for the nations in which it is needed most, a fundamental factor in any country’s ability to develop.
Seli Hydropower, the local project company responsible for the development of Bumbuna II, says it will ensure that the environment is preserved and that the local communities benefit from this project.