Expansion of Sierra Leone’s Bumbuna expansion receives key approval

Plans to construct a 143 MW expansion of Sierra Leone’s Bumbuna plant reached a significant milestone with its unanimous ratification by the Africa country’s parliament.

The existing 50-MW Bumbuna project is owned by the Sierra Leone government, but operated by Seli Hydropower — a joint venture between Joule Africa and the Energy Services Co. (ESCO). The companies said the expansion, being called Bumbuna 2, will offer Sierra Leone energy security.

“The development of Bumbuna 2 has always been a key part of the country’s long-term energy strategy, and we look forward to being able to deliver affordable, all-year round power for the consumers of Sierra Leone,” said Patrick Beckley, Seli Hydropower executive chair.

The expansion also calls for the construction of a new regulation dam 30 kilometers upstream from the existing infrastructure, located on the Upper Seli River in the northeastern part of the country.

“We are making good progress on all fronts and will look to build on this momentum in the coming weeks and months as we conclude the financing of the project,” said Andrew Cavaghan, Joule Africa chair and director of Seli Hydropower.

Joule Africa signed a 25-year power purchase agreement for electricity generated by the Bumbuna 2 with the government of Sierra Leone in August. Once complete, it plant will be owned and operated by Seli Hydropower.

The group said it expects construction of the plant to begin mid-2018, with operations to begin four years later.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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