Wärtsilä has been appointed the EPC contractor for a 57 MW Smart Power Generation plant to be supplied to CECA SL Generation Ltd, a Sierra Leone company co-owned by CEC Africa Investments and TCQ Power. The turn-key order includes six Wärtsilä 32 engines running on heavy fuel oil. The plant is expected to be operational within 18 months from the ground-breaking.
The 57 MW Wärtsilä power plant in Freetown, Sierra Leone
The project will have a significant impact on the development of Sierra Leone's energy infrastructure. Upon completion of this project, the availability of energy in Sierra Leone will increase by 40%. Wärtsilä's scope of supply includes the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the power plant, plus 1.3 km of fuel pipeline from a jetty to the site, and 8 km of overhead power lines. The order was included in Wärtsilä's order book in Q3 2016.
Electricity access in Sierra Leone is amongst the lowest in the world with less than 15% of the population having access to the grid. The existing installed system capacity serving the capital Freetown totals about 84 MW, predominantly from hydro sources. During the dry season, when the available hydropower drops to extremely low levels, the reduced availability and subsequently high cost of electricity impose lost economic opportunities for the local population and businesses. The new 57 MW power plant is responding to a critical need for baseload generation capacity.
“We wanted a best quality product and firm. Wärtsilä is an experienced EPC contractor in Africa, and their engines are easy to operate and inexpensive to maintain,” says Karim Nasser, CEO at TCQ Power. According to Nasser, the new power station will provide reliable and efficient 24-hour electricity to the locals, which will eventually facilitate the country's economic growth. “We hope this project will mark the beginning of a new era in the country,” continues Nasser.
Wärtsilä has a strong footprint in Africa with over 6500 MW of installed base. Globally, Wärtsilä's installed base is 60 GW in 176 countries.