Image: ABC Engines
The MSGBC Basin – comprised of Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia – is aiming to attract more private sector investment in energy projects to help decrease energy costs, boost rural electrification and fight energy poverty. Accordingly, various projects are currently underway to boost energy security across the region.
Kiffa Hybrid Power Plant Project
The Mauritanian utility company (SOMELEC) has issued a call for tenders for the development of the Kiffa Hybrid Power Plant project in Mauritania. Comprising a 1.3 MWp solar photovoltaic plant and a 5MW thermal (LFO/HFO) plant, the project represents the first of its kind in the sub-region.
Located near the strategically important town of Kiffa, the project will not only supply Kiffa, Guérou and surrounding villages with electricity, but will replace the current diesel-fired power generation plants. Accordingly, the project will be the only power generation facility supplying Kiffa’s isolated grid.
Grand Tortue Ahmeyim LNG Project
Thanks to the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) and other projects under development, Senegal is positioning itself as one of west Africa’s top gas producing countries. Senegal boasts some of Africa’s top gas reserves, estimated at over 450 billion cubic meters, and has targeted accelerated industry expansion to enhance regional energy security and independence, while at the same time enabling it to become a global gas exporter.
The country’s largest project, the GTA – co-developed with neighboring Mauritania – is not only the deepest offshore development on the continent, but is expected to unlock over 15 trillion cubic feet of gas. The project lies on the maritime border between Senegal and Mauritania, with both countries aggressively pursuing the development of offshore gas resources.
Jointly developed by BP as the operator, Kosmos Energy, Petrosen and SMHPM, the project serves as an example for other gas-rich regions looking to capitalize on resources and expand regional collaboration. The amount of Foreign Direct Investment and revenue from this Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project are expected to also trickle down into other sectors of the economy and grow exponentially as the scale of production increases over the course of the next five years, providing major momentum for Senegal’s long-term economic development objectives.
Another major energy project in the MSGBC region is Sangomar oilfield development, operated by Woodside Petroleum. Located 100km south of Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, the field forms part of the Rufisque Offshore, Sangomar Offshore and Sangomar Deep Offshore joint venture between Woodside and Petrosen. The initial phase of the project development targets over 230 million barrels of crude oil, and will be significant for the country in its quest to enhance energy security and exports. Containing both oil and natural gas, development on the Sangomar field started in 2020, with first oil targeted by 2023.
Taiba N´Diaye Wind Farm
One of Senegal’s top renewable energy projects is the Taiba N´Diaye wind farm, operated by Lekela Power. Comprising the country’s first utility-scale wind farm project, the Taiba N’Diaye project illustrates the true potential for renewable energy in the MSGBC region.
The 158MW wind project comprises 46 turbines with a capacity of 3.45MW each. By increasing electricity generation capacity by 15% in the country, the project will provide over two million people with much-needed clean and affordable electricity. The facility is expected to come online by the end of 2021, with construction having started in 2018.
Scale Up Project
Guinea-Conakry is not far behind Senegal in its ambitions to capitalize on its renewable energy potential. In recent years, the Guinean authorities have been working closely with multilateral financial institutions to foster new power generation and renewable energy projects.
Notably, through the Scale Up Project – which, to date, has raised a total $108.4 million – the country is expanding electricity access across the country. The Scale Up project forms part of the World Bank’s larger power sector initiative in the country, which includes the Power Sector Recovery Project and three other interconnected power projects.
Power Sector Recovery Project
The Power Sector Recovery project falls under a group of projects facilitated by the World Bank in Guinea-Conakry. With the objective of improving electricity access and supply across the country, the project will tap into the regional power market. Having secured $50 million in 2014 and $25 million in 2018, approved by the World Bank, the project, in addition to electrification benefits, will significantly reduce the cost of electricity in the country.
The Gambia Electricity Access Project
The Gambia’s national utility company, NAWEC, is working with multilateral financial agencies, like the African Development Fund, on the Gambia Electricity Access Project. The project comprises the construction of medium and low voltage lines; the erection of transformers; as well as the grid connection of customers across several regions in the country.
With a primary objective to enhance access to affordable and reliable power in the country, the project consists of three main components, namely: the extension of electricity distribution infrastructure; project implementation management; and institutional development and capacity building.
Several countries in the MSGBC region have excellent hydropower potential. Notably, Guinea-Conakry’s potential is estimated at 6,000 MW. Over the past decade a new dynamic was birthed to double installed capacity from 212MW to 450MW by making the country’s strategic Kaleta dam operational.
Located in Guinea, 115km northeast of Conakry, the Kaleta Dam project comprises a 240MW storage hydropower plant; 660GW hour per year of net generation capacity; and a gravity dam measured at 22m high, 1060m long, and holding 23 million m³ of reservoir storage. Despite initially proposed as part of the larger Gambia River Basin Development Organization project, the facility is now being developed as a stand-alone project. https://www.invest.gov.gn/page/energy-and-hydraulic
The MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021 Conference & Exhibition, taking place in December in Dakar, will host a high number of delegations from various MSGBC countries, as well as companies and organizations actively involved in financing independent power projects. Comprising the ideal platform whereby the regions renewable energy potential will be showcased, the conference offers valuable networking opportunities that will help drive investment and cooperation across the region.