By Aramata Jatta
The Government of the Gambia has on Saturday 20th February 2020 inaugurated a whopping $28.4m 20 Mega Watts power plant at Brikama West Coast region presided over by H.E President Adama Barrow.
This project is the second phase of the power generation expansion programme in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) funded by the Islamic bank and the Government of the Gambia.
The contract was given to one of the Gambia’s leading entrepreneur Jah-oil partnering with STX Heavy Industries of South Korea and has successfully completed the state of the earth facet.
The multimillion dollar project seeks to increase the domestic electricity to meet the growing electricity demand in the country.
Its main objective is to narrow or close the electricity demand and supply gap in the GBA .The two generators (engines) are dual-fuel technology with the needed inbuilt provision for gas. Both generators are new and were manufactured by Man- Germany which is one of the leading engine manufacturing companies in the world.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, President Adama Barrow said the power plant project has to serve a leverage to raise living standards and reduce poverty in the country.
Barrow said the addition of 20MW to Gambia’s electricity generation capacity will significantly address the country’s power capacity gaps and will serve as a catalyst to achieve and maintain regular electricity supply for the entire Gambian Nation.
“The project stands out as another means of accelerating the country’s key infrastructure investments to empower Gambian citizens through access to essential services”.
He said it is only through such huge development strides that we can attain the level of economic growth we desire.
“The increasing demand for power , arising from the expansion of economic activities in the country, also makes it compelling for government to redouble efforts in energy sector.”
President Barrow said they are working with development partners to mitigate the effects of climate change.” Increase renewable energy uptake and improve energy efficiency in our homes,institutions and businesses. ”
Nani juwara Managing Director National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) said ” the commission of this new plant in October, 2020 has increased the available capacity of NAWEC by almost 30% and this has significantly improved the availability and quality of electricity within the GBA.”
As part of this project , a new dispatch center will be built in order to enhance the transmission capacity and operational efficiently of the facility Juwara promised.
“The improvement in our generation from 2017 to date is phenomenal as we now have double the available capacity in GBA from 45MW to 90MW thus eliminating frequent power outages and load.”
He said they are conscious of the fact that 50%of their current generators have aged over time and its operation costs are becoming unsustainable.” We are currently on a tender process for an additional 30MW double fuel IPP. ”
According to Fafa Sayang Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Providing access to electricity to support inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development is one of the pivotal cornerstones of the government’s priorities as articulated in the energy sector policies,strategies and National Development Plan 2018-2021.
“In term of access, the national electrification target is to reach 60%by the end of this year and universal access by 2025.”
The Energy minister said there is no doubt that the inauguration of this project reflects the Gambia government’s commitments to bring electricity to the doorsteps of every citizen to improve lives and livelihoods.
In keeping with the global energy transition towards low carbon and sustainable energy solutions “the Government of the Gambia through Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is committed to promoting the development and deployment of renewal energy for both on -grid and off-grid application.”
However this is done by creating the enabling environment through policy and legislation to stimulate both public and private investments in this area.