West African Power Pool, Chinese firm to develop hydro projects

The West African Power Pool (WAPP) has signed a partnership agreement with Chinese hydropower builder SinoHydro Corp. to develop West Africa hydroelectric projects.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said February 5 that the memorandum of understanding calls for the parties to work together to develop the CLSG power system to boost electricity supply to Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The project involves construction of four power stations and a dam, an ECOWAS statement said.

It said SinoHydro also expressed �serious interest as a major strategic partner� in developing the 215-MW Kaleta hydroelectric project in Guinea and the 90-MW Sambangalou project in Gambia on a public-private partnership model. Those projects, in the Gambia River Basin, would supply electricity to member states of the Organization for the Development of the River Gambia (OMVG), Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Senegal.

The three-year agreement, which is automatically renewable for another two years, also requires SinoHydro to provide technical assistance that will enable the Benin-based WAPP to develop expertise in hydropower development, design, operations, and power system planning. SinoHydro also is expected to help WAPP, a unit of ECOWAS, in securing credit or participating as a strategic partner to develop power projects in ECOWAS member states.

WAPP and the European Investment Bank signed a grant agreement in December providing funding of two pre-investment studies for an electricity interconnection project among Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. (HNN 1/3/08)

China’s Export-Import Bank agreed in 2007 to fund construction of the US$1 billion, 750-MW Souapiti hydroelectric project on the Konkoure River in Guinea. In 2002, a feasibility study of Souapiti and Kaleta was commissioned. (HNN 7/10/07)

A half-dozen international development agencies last year pledged US$402 million to help finance OMVG hydropower development in the Gambia River Basin. OMVG members agreed to develop Kaleta and Sambangalou. (HNN 5/28/07)

Elsewhere in the region, Sierra Leone plans to complete the 50-MW Bumbuna hydro project and a grid link to Guinea (HNN 10/23/07), Liberia seeks to rebuild and expand 64-MW Mount Coffee (HNN 9/3/07), and Guinea is pursuing the 75-MW Garafiri hydro project. (HNN 6/22/06)

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