Government of Sierra Leone and Joule Africa reach agreement on Bumbuna II

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.

5 Comments

  1. You know the problem of politics in our country. These guys like talking and talking, talking and promising people and never fulfilling their promises.

  2. The problem we had with both past and the present government, is too much talk no action. Sierra Leonean governments lack the word COMMITMENT. The one thing that has always been consistent in our country are two things. CORRUPTION and DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS NEVER GET COMPLETED. I call it the curse of Sierra Leone. Despite the agreement reached, the government as they promised, should work with Joule Africa, the energy company that has committed to the expansion of Bumbuna Hydro Electricity dam that every Sierra Leonean of age has heard government ministers talk about all those years ago. We have reached a point where we are saying, like what one famous Chinese leader said “We don’t care whether the cat is black or white, as long as it can catch a mouse” With the potential of Bunbuna, there were even suggestions on completion that the dam running at full capacity, will not only support Sierra Leone, but our neighbours in the MRU.

    Like us they have been waiting like the return of Elvis. The problem that has affected long term projects in Sierra Leone, is when a different party comes to power. Instead of letting projects signed by the previous government carry on to completion, the first task of the new government, under the banner of a different party, on taking office, it seems is to cancel the previous projects agreed by the government, they replace and launch never-ending reviews. The problem with that is, the government never discloses to the general public, how much does the cancellation fees cost and how long the review will take to complete.

    All said, it adds to delays, waste of more public funds and who knows, tbese projects takes year to complete. By then, maybe a different party will have come to power and we are back to the drawing board. With that attitude, don’t hold your breath, we might just be counting our chickens early before they are hatch. May God bless Sierra Leone.

  3. I know it must be a daunting challenge and frustrating doing business in a country where every development aspect is driven purposely for political recognition, rather the merit based or citizens needs. Like so many beneficial projects, like the Mamamah airport, the previous regime had secured all funding and reached a conclusive agreement with Joule Africa for this same Bumbuna phase ll project. I happen to know one of the local executive officials who worked tirelessly to put modalities in place, specifically in securing the necessary funds and obtaining the technical team qualified to implement the said project. After several years of research, planning and traveling around the globe, this official was able to have the government of Sierra Leone and Joule Africa arrive at an amicable, practical agreement, hence the contract signing in 2017.

    Of course we all know what happen next, SLPP took over governance and decided to either undo all good development plans put in place by the APC or stalled those development plans. Like the Turkish power supply ship, they were making a fuss about but ended up embracing, they have now decided to move ahead with Bumbuna phase ll, working with the same company APC had signed contract with. The airport project and Bumbuna phase ll would have been approaching completion stages, if we indeed have patriotic Sierra Leoneans at the helm of affairs. What a pathetic state of affairs!!

    https://www.hydroreview.com/2017/08/07/joule-africa-sierra-leone-sign-25-year-ppa-for-50-mw-bumbuna-expansion/

  4. It never ends…Now this; “Due to deforestation,no amount of work on the current Bumbuna dam will provide the energy requirements of the nation especially during the dry season” Bwahahahaha…Totally ridiculous! Please be kind enough lady to enlighten those curious minds on this glorious forum how you were able to reach such a shallow flimsy conclusion. Sincerely, I will take my chances and listen cautiously to what the professionals and experts have to say on this issue instead of naively relying on a random guesser’s baseless hypothesis.(lol)

    Listen! Building a hydroelectric dam is a truly complicated business; hundreds and thousands can get displaced in the process and the unintended problems and consequences to the environment can be alarming and disastrous,that’s why it takes years of careful research,planning and deliberations to come to any logical,viable conclusion whether or not it is pragmatic and in the interest of our nation to proceed unhesitantly with such a massive challenging project. Abandoning existing projects and starting new ones is madness,and not a resourceful and practical thing to do in the interest of any nation struggling to make progress like our own.

  5. Due to deforestation, no amount of work on the current Bumbuna dam will provide the energy requirements of the nation especially during the dry season.
    Alternatively, the amount to increase the capacity of the Bumbuna dam should be used to create new dams on some of the other twelve rivers in the country.

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