Senegal to get energy boost from new gas-fired power plant

by Akeem Alao
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The $349m Cap des Biches power plant project has received financing from the African Finance Corporation, Burkina Faso-based Coris Bank International.

According to a report, West African Energy, the Senegalese energy and petroleum products company, recently announced that its 300MW Cap des Biches power plant will begin operations by the end of this year.

“The $349m project is funded by the African Finance Corporation, Burkina Faso-based Coris Bank International, and others,” the report says.

It adds that the combined-cycle gas power plant, located in an industrial area approximately 20 km from Dakar, is Senegal’s first combined-cycle plant.

It will consume 1.1 million cubic meters of natural gas per year, generating up to 2.39TWh of electric power per year, the report says.

West African Energy owns 85 per cent of the project, while Senegal’s national electricity company Senelec holds a 15 per cent share.

GE is supplying the power plant with two 9E.03 gas turbines, one STF-A200 steam turbine, three A39 generators, and two heat recovery steam generators. The Turkish group Calik Enerji is providing construction and engineering services.

The enormous plant, covering 10 hectares, will meet 25 per cent of the country’s net domestic demand, powering approximately a half million homes. A 90 kV underground power transmission line will conduct electricity output.

The Cap des Biches power plant’s development comes in the wake of a spike in natural gas production in Senegal and other West African countries. Senegal and Mauritania have worked with BP to develop the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) offshore gas project, which is anticipated to bring large scale production onstream next year.

GTA and other projects will provide large amounts of natural gas for LNG export while boosting domestic supplies. As of 2019, Senegal’s installed power capacity was 1.3GW, mostly generated from oil and coal, with less than 6% generated from gas. The government now plans to convert its coal-fired and oil-fired power plants to gas.

Such conversions should allow Senegal to transform its energy sector and lower the cost of electricity for its population, of which 30 per cent lacks access to electricity. Conversion to domestic natural gas supplies will reduce power generation costs and consumer prices, helping the country to meet its goal to provide electricity to all households.

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