“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%”, the release said, adding that Wartsila's scope of supply would include the 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.
Electricity access in the country is amongst the lowest in the world with less than 15 per cent of the population having access to the grid, the statement said, adding that the existing installed system capacity serving the capital Freetown totalled 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.
Karim Nasser, CEO at TCQ Power said: “We wanted a best quality product and firm. Wartsila is an experienced EPC contractor in Africa, and their engines are easy to operate and inexpensive to maintain”.
He said the new power station would provide reliable and efficient 24hr electricity to the locals which eventually would facilitate the country's economic growth.
“We hope this project will mark the beginning of a new era in the country,” he said.
Wartsila has a strong footprint in Africa with over 6500 MW of installed base. Globally, Wartsila's installed base is 60 GW in 176 countries.