Cote d’Ivoire has inaugurated a US $572m hydroelectric power station. The Chinese-built Soubre hydroelectric power station is the largest of its kind in the West African country.
The 4.5-km-long hydropower dam at Naoua Falls on the Sassandra River has an installed capacity of 275 megawatts (MW). It will increase hydro power in Cote d’Ivoire’s energy as well as cement the country’s status as a key power producer and supplier in West Africa.
The Soubre project stayed dormant for several decades due to lack of funding. One of Soubre’s four total generator units started generating electricity in May. This is about eight months ahead of schedule according to the builder Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
Wang Jun, Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire, noted that the hydro station has helped deepen the bilateral economic and trade cooperation. This is more so especially in the areas of energy and hydroelectricity.
France’s Tractebel Engineering is the company in charge with quality supervision of the dam’s construction. According to Teyssiaux Jean, an engineer with the company, Soubre dam is of high quality. The cost of the Soubre project amounts to US $572m. The Export-Import Bank of China financed 85% of the project and Cote d’Ivoire the remaining 15%.
Thierry Tanoh, energy minister of Cote d’Ivoire notes that Soubre dam puts the country on course to meet the target of 4,000 MW by 2020. He further added that the dam contributes greatly to the improvement of people’s livelihoods. A foundation laying ceremony for the 112-MW Gribo-Popoli project ran simultaneously. The dam is 15km downstream of Soubre, to be built also by Sinohydro.