Plans for the first phase of the Bumbuna hydropower project were unveiled in 1975. Eighty-five percent of construction was complete by May 1997, when it was halted because of civil war. The project was restarted in 2005 and was eventually completed in November 2009.
Almost eight years later, in August 2017, Joule Africa signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Government, for electricity from a 143-MW expansion of the 50-MW Bumbuna station. It was an important milestone in the development of the project. Insight Magazine talks to Joule Africa to find out more about Bumbuna II.
Tell us about Joule Africa, its experience in the energy sector and its objectives as a company.
Joule Africa was established in 2011 and is a developer, owner and operator of sustainable power projects in Africa. Through the development and operation of sustainable energy assets, Joule Africa is committed to significantly increasing access to energy for the African nations in which it is needed most, a fundamental factor in any country’s ability to develop. The senior team of Joule Africa has a wealth of experience in developing and operating power projects across emerging markets, including overseeing the development of 10 GWh of power assets across Africa. Bumbuna II is Joule’s most advanced project; its second project - Kpep, is a 485MW hydropower project in Cameroon, which is currently embarking on the full feasibility stage.
Explain the roles of Seli Hydropower and Energy Services Company (ESCO).
Seli Hydropower is the registered project company in Sierra Leone, responsible for overseeing the successful development and operation of Bumbuna II. Seli Hydropower has overall responsibility for ensuring that Bumbuna II is developed safely and to a high standard, that the affected communities are well looked after and that affected environments are preserved and maintained. Seli Hydropower will also be responsible for the continued operation of Bumbuna I.
Energy Services Company (ESCO) is Joule Africa’s local partner in Sierra Leone. ESCO provides various important local services, including supporting Seli Hydropower on its responsibilities towards the Government of Sierra Leone, the local communities and the local environment, as well as additional advisory and logistics services.