Bumbuna II Hydroelectric Power Project in Sierra Leone

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The Bumbuna II hydropower plant is located on the Upper Seli River in North East Sierra Leone. It involves building an extension to the existing 50MW Bumbuna I facility. The latter was built with an investment of $327 million it has been in operation since 2009.

Upon completion, the approximately $750 million Bumbuna II project will add 143MW of new capacity and will provide Sierra Leone with a minimum of 80MW of reliable, all-year round affordable electricity. The energy produced by the hydropower project will feed into the Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea extension to the West African Power Pool transmission line.

Bumbuna II will be under the development, ownership, and operation of Seli Hydropower. A joint venture between the local company Energy Services Company (ESCO) and Joule Africa.

Reported ON Jun 17, 2014

Addax Bio-energy to add 16MW to Sierra Leone’s national grid

Addax Bio-energy Company will produce a total of 16 MW to the national grid in Sierra Leone. This good news comes at a time when the electricity supply in many parts of Sierra Leone is nonexistent.

According to an announcement made by the company, it has successfully begun the export of 1.5 MW of electricity to the National Power Authority. Its export is expected to increase as they continue to fine-tune its equipment.

Built in 2002, Bumbuna Hydro has the capacity to generate up to 50 megawatts, but due to low water levels, it has been producing 7mw instead of 38mw. There are indications that the Bumbuna Hydro will shut down for routine maintenance. However, the government has embarked on several mini hydro projects as well as the installation of thermal plants across the country.

Also Read: Baoma 1 solar power plant, Sierra Leone’s first of its kind commences commercial operations

Tariffs in Sierra Leone are among the highest in Africa at about US28 cents/kWh which is about twice as much as the continental average constraining energy consumption. The majority of Sierra Leone’s population relies on inefficient and polluting traditional fuels to meet their basic needs, such as fuel-wood and charcoal for cooking, resulting in an adverse impact on personal health and safety as well as on the environment.

With request from the government, the World Bank has provided about US$53m to boost reforms in the NPA and unbundle the network in a public-private partnership framework.

Reported On July 28, 2014

Bumbuna Phase II power project in the offing

Endeavor Energy, a privately owned independent power development and generation company backed by Denham Capital and Joule Africa, an international power developer, has entered into an agreement to jointly develop the Bumbuna Phase II Power Project, an hydroelectric power (HEP) project in Sierra Leone.

Bumbuna Phase II will add an additional 202 megawatts to the existing 50 megawatts at Bumbuna HEP. Endeavor Energy, which received an initial commitment from Denham’s US$3 billion Fund VI in June has agreed to fund the remaining development costs for the project and will invest up to 75 percent of the equity at the financial close (estimated US$ 150 million).

Joule Africa has completed the feasibility study for the development of the second phase of Bumbuna and, the parties are now ready to launch the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) tender.

Project Financing

Lenders to the project will likely include the African Development Bank, IFC, and Emerging Markets Infrastructure Fund along with a club of European development finance institutions.

Sean Long, CEO of Endeavor Energy said they are happy to have teamed up with Joule Africa and the Government of Sierra Leone to jointly complete the expansion of the Bumbuna Phase II in a public-private partnership.

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Honorable Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, said they are delighted by the progress made by Joule Africa and the manner in which they have engaged in the issues of concern to the Government. The minister added that they are hopeful that this important project will be developed to the highest international standards, delivering a timely expansion to the current installed energy generation capacity in Sierra Leone.

Reported On Nov 7, 2016

Phase II of the Bumbuna hydropower project in Sierra Leone starts

Four international bidders from Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America have come together to develop phase II of the Bumbuna hydropower project in Joule Africa.

The project is estimated to generate 143 megawatts (MW), it had attracted bidders from the globe’s top four contractors on hydropower construction including AG/DAWNUS from Brazil, JV Hydrochina/Sinohydro from China, SALINI and Impregilio from Italy and CMC Yuksel from South Africa that is currently in the country on a five days pre–bidding site tours to the project area.

The contractor is expected to build two substations that will be linked to the West Africa supply line in Liberia and Guinea correspondingly intercepting 225 kV each from the Yiben dam.

Moving Progressively

The phase II project is will feature a concession agreement with Joule Africa. The company has invested the most with a total fund of US$ 125M. Meanwhile, AIM from South Africa with fiscal support of US$ 75M.

The project is also in receipt of debts worth US$ 730M from the European Investment Bank (ADB), and the International Financial Corporation (IFC). Alongside the Islamic Development Bank, CDC, Green Africa Power (GAP), and various investors.

The 143mw power scheme will be on the 115-kilometer squares (km2) reservoir areas at Yiben River. It is likely to displace 6 global threatened species and 32 global susceptible species. About 1,000 homes and 5,600 individuals in 44 settlements will be relocated.

Mr. Sesay said the government and the people are ready to meet their obligation for the project. At Bumbuna the Chief of Staff assured the community that since everyone in the country is anxious for electricity, the completion of the project will change lives. He beseeched the community to embrace the project.

The Deputy Energy Minister Honorable Hassan Barrie said the country is eager for the completion of the project. Especially, after the government vowed to electrify the whole country.

Reported On Feb 2, 2018

Sierra Leone to construct Bumbuna II Power project

The government of Sierra Leone is planning to persuade the Environment Protection Agency to award the Environment and Social Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) license for the commencement of work on the Bumbuna II project.

On completion, the project will generate 143MW of electricity for communities across Sierra Leone.

According to the Deputy Minister of Energy, Osmond Hanciles, presently the west African country enjoys a 20% access rate to electricity supply. However, when the Bumbuna II project reaches completion, the electricity accessibility rate will be 30%.

“We have tried to improve the distribution capacity of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA). In 2007 there were 47KW hours, but it is now 400KW hours. This is a significant improvement in the energy sector,” he said.

He added that the country now has the capacity to accommodate over 100MW within Freetown and its surrounding areas.

Completion of the Bumbuna II  project

Hanciles assured that when the Bumbuna II project is complete, the ministry of energy and its utility companies will be able to supply at least 80MW without any glitches.

According to the Executive Chairman of SELI Hydropower, Patrick Olufemi Beckley, they have put mitigating strategies in place to prevent potential hazards in areas where the Bumbuna II project will be.

Initially, SELI Hydropower intended to implement the Bumbuna II produce so that it would produce 365MW of electricity and supply it to major historic towns in Tonkolili District. However, President Ernest Bai Koroma wants the people to stay within their environment.

“After that statement, we decided to reduce it to 143MW. We also thanked President Koroma for thinking about the welfare of the people,” said Beckley.

Jun 2019

Bumbuna II hydropower project in Sierra Leone to receive US $4.9m funding

Sierra Leone is set to receive US $4.9m funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to finance the remaining and final stages of developing the Bumbuna II hydropower project, the country’s largest infrastructure project.

The project is part of the government’s long-term Energy Plan, playing a critical energy infrastructure role that will help to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and emergency power by providing affordable baseload power for Sierra Leone.

“We are pleased to have the support and endorsement of DBSA as we progress the project towards financial close. DBSA’s funding and ongoing support come at a critical time when our team is focused on completing the remaining activities so that the construction of this landmark project can get underway,” said Andrew Cavaghan, Executive Chairman of Joule Africa Limited.

Reported On Aug 15, 2021

Bumbuna II hydropower project in Sierra Leone to receive US $4.9m funding

RESierra Leone will receive US $4.9m in funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). It will finance the remaining and final stages of developing the Bumbuna II hydropower project. It is also known as the country’s largest infrastructure project.

The project is part of the government’s long-term Energy Plan. It plays a critical energy infrastructure role which will help to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. As well as, emergency power by providing affordable baseload power for Sierra Leone.