Despite the Covid-19 outbreak in Liberia, TRANSCO CLSG continues to make steady progress in the implementation of the CLSG interconnection project in the country.
In an effort to bring reliable and affordable power to Monrovia and beyond, a total of 570 transmission towers have been erected within the 230 kilometers span from the Buchanan Substation through Botota to Yekepa Substation by the EPC contractors, Elecnor-Eiffage, spearheaded by François CHRISTIEN, UTE project manager in Liberia (pictured above).
Stringing activities are far advanced and within the next couple of weeks, will be completed for this section. This is the longest stretch of the transmission line in Liberia.
The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohammed M. Sherif is urging his employees as well as EPC contractors and other field workers associated with the implementation of the CLSG project across Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to adhere to the health protocols and take preventive measures against the coronavirus.
“Please be safe as we continue to work together to move the CLSG project forward,” Mr. Sherif made the call when he chaired a virtual meeting with his senior management team on Monday, April 6, 2020.
TRANSCO CLSG will hold regular virtual meetings due to the outbreak of the Covid-19. A virtual meeting is when people around the world, regardless of their location, use video, audio, and text to link up online. This method also allows people to share information and data in real-time without being physically located together.
Development from Yekepa substation
In another development, EPC contractors, Sieyuan have successfully loaded and positioned the Transformer and Reactor on their respective foundations at the Yekepa substation in Nimba County, Liberia. That means the highly risky part of the project has been successfully handled despite some unexpected challenges during the process.
The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG congratulates the EPC contractors, the TRANSCO CLSG team, and the Owner’s Engineer for the milestone. The installation of other components on the transformer and reactor is ongoing.
The COVID 19 – deadly contagious virus sickness is speedily spreading all over the world which has infected and killed thousands. Declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, various measures are being put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The outbreak has also affected the seamless implementation of the CLSG interconnection project. However, as project activities continue unabated, TRANSCO CLSG along with the EPC contractors in Sierra Leone continue to educate and sensitize more people in the project locations on Coronavirus possible prevention methods and distribute tools to help to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The EPC contractors including Angelic Tata, KEC and Sieyuan continue to sensitize residents in the CLSG project impacted areas as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities. The sensitization process is being characterized by presentations on Covid-19 and how to prevent it. Physical display of hand washing, social or physical distancing and other preventive measures are being discussed during these programs.
Several buckets, soaps and gallons of bleach were provided and they are to be used at the entrances of these beneficiary communities including Kamakwei, Thambi, Susudara, Fadugu and Thankorosidi. Other communities including Kasoloba, Fadugu, Bumbuna and Kajida also benefited.
TRANSCO CLSG’s Social Safeguard Assistant in the North Western Region coordinated these activities with the contractors.
Photos by Mbalu Sesay, TRANSCO CLSG Social Safeguard Assistant
The long awaited delivery of the Transformer and Reactor to the Yekepa substation has commenced today, Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Liberia.
BREAKING NEWS: AT LAST!The long awaited delivery of the Transformer and Reactor to the Yekepa substation has commenced today, Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Liberia.The Transformer and the Reactor for the Yekepa substation site in Nimba County are being transported from the Mount Coffee site where they had been kept, to the Yekepa substation. Two trailers, followed by a crane are facilitating the delivery.
Posted by Transco CLSG on Sunday, March 15, 2020
The Transformer and the Reactor for the Yekepa substation site in Nimba County are being transported from the Mount Coffee site where they had been kept, to the Yekepa substation. Two trailers, followed by a crane are facilitating the delivery.
Arrangement was made by the EPC contractors, SIEYUAN (responsible for the construction of substations in Liberia), the Owner’s Engineer TRACTEBEL, TRANSCO CLSG and other relevant authorities including the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to transport the vital equipment which is critical to the coming of reliable and affordable electricity to Liberia.
What a milestone in the implementation of the CLSG project!
TRANSCO CLSG’s current organizational structure entails a limited number of technical personnel, who focus on project implementation. Significantly increasing TRANSCO CLSG size from the beginning of operations, requires an appropriate Operations and Maintenance (O&M) that will manage the challenges and operational risks.
For this reason, TRANSCO CLSG intends to recruit a reputable private operator to be selected competitively under a performance-based management contract, with appropriate incentives for cost minimization. The O&M contract will have a minimum duration of four (4) years with the contract effective date set for October 2020.
Meanwhile, TRANSCO CLSG has concluded a consultative meeting with interested parties on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at the Headquarter of TRANSCO CLSG, in Cocody 2 Plateaux, Angré, 7è Tranche, 28 BP 633 Abidjan 28, Côte d’Ivoire.
The objective of the meeting was to discuss with the parties TRANSCO CLSG requirements and expectations for this assignment as well as Key features of the draft bidding documents prepared by TRANSCO CLSG, and to receive the feedback and suggestions of the industry participants in the meeting regarding the proposed assignment. The results of the meeting will allow to improve and finalize the draft bidding documents.
TRANSCO CLSG’s Acting General Manager, Josephus Jigba Yilla (Manager of Finance and Administration), who chaired the meeting, encouraged stakeholders to participate in the process and use the meeting as an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments regarding this upcoming project procurement opportunity for the Statutory O&M contractor.
TRANSCO CLSG and the four utilities in charge of electricity in the CLSG countries convened at the first session of the two-day high-level meeting of the Commercial Framework on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at the Tiama Hotel, Abidjan.
The meeting is part of the final round of negotiations for the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and the Transmission Service Agreements (TSAs) that were signed in 2016. The objective of the final negotiations is to review the PPA & TSAs that were adopted and signed in November 2016, and to align these agreements with the model agreements developed by ERERA.
The Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) were signed between CI Energies as the seller and the utilities including LEC (Liberia), EDSA (Sierra Leone) and EDG (Guinea) as buyers of 27 MW of firm energy.
TRANSCO CLSG and the three utilities entered into Transmission Service Agreements (TSAs), which among other aspects define transmission charges, losses allocation and payment security arrangements. The total of 83 MW split equally between the three utilities, was required to make the CLSG viable based on the initial estimates of the project in 2012.
It was also agreed in 2016, that these agreements would be finalized as the project moves closer towards commission.
In his opening remarks, the General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohammed M. Sherif said despite the numerous challenges the project has encountered, he was pleased to inform the participants that with the support of the Governments of the four countries, the Board, and the CLSG Donors, the project is now expected to be commissioned by June 2020.
“Unfortunately, we have been forced to move the commissioning date from March 31, 2020 to June 2020 due to circumstances beyond our control, which includes the difficult terrain and poor condition of the roads,” the General Manager lamented.
He furthered that the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic has affected the March 2020 partial commissioning schedule for Liberia. Says the General Manager: “Quite recently, the outbreak of the coronavirus in China has affected the movement of key Chinese experts who are to undertake critical works and pre-commissioning tests on sub stations in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as the SVC contract in Cote d’Ivoire.”
Nevertheless, the General Manager encouraged the participants to work collaboratively to conclude all the essential arrangements that would enable parties to begin efficient and sustainable trade of electricity on the CLSG transmission line based on sound commercial agreements that are fair, equitable and which also conform to ERERA Standards for the electricity market in the ECOWAS region.
The General Manager disclosed that TRANSCO CLSG has received the first draft of the interconnection agreement that will be shared with the technical experts of the Utilities and discussed at a technical meeting that will be held in Abidjan in March 2020.
“It is therefore very important for parties in these negotiations to provide firm commitments to trade on the CLSG transmission line, and agree on transmission tariffs that will ensure TRANSCO CLSG’s financial viability in the medium and long term,” Mr. Sherif stressed.
In the short term, TRANSCO CLSG envisages that there would be a big financial gap between revenues and costs. Management intends to engage CLSG countries and donors to agree upon suitable strategies to close the gap, while pursuing opportunities to expand the national grid, grow industrial and mining loads, in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and improve trade of electricity through the CLSG transmission line.
The CLSG model exhibits a spirit of mutual cooperation and collaboration among the stakeholders in the four countries. And it is TRANSCO CLSG hope that parties would continue in this same spirit collaboration, during the negotiations to ensure that all parties are treated fairly and that benefits and responsibilities are clearly defined, understood and agreed upon collectively and as far as possible.
The General Manager acknowledged the invaluable support and unwavering commitment of WAPP, the Governments of Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Board, the four national utilities and the four CLSG donors to the CLSG Project and to regional integration. “The CLSG is about to bring light to the lives of millions and this could never have been possible without your contribution, we are grateful and sincerely thank you.”
The General Manager particularly thanked the World Bank for their support through WAPP in the recruitment of financial and legal experts who are assisting TRANSCO CLSG throughout these final negotiations to adopt the final versions of the PPA and TSAs for signature.
The much-anticipated March 2020 scheduled partial commissioning of the CLSG transmission line in Liberia has been moved to June 2020, a delay arising out of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China.
Since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Hong Kong in early February 2020, various measures are being put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus. One of those measures include travel restrictions to and out of China.
The resulting impact of the novel coronavirus is far-reaching and affects every project, including the CLSG interconnection project which has Chinese firms implementing the project in Liberia.
The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG Mohammed M. Sherif made the revelation at the high-level Commercial Framework meeting in Abidjan, Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
He said restriction intended to contain the coronavirus epidemic in China has impacted the CLSG project, hence the March 2020 commissioning. He said Chinese experts who traveled to their home country for the annual Lunar New Year festival are faced with travel ban as the health crisis looms.
Calling it force majeure, Mr. Sherif said the four CLSG countries have been notified about the prevailing situation and that all four countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, remain hopeful that virus epidemic would go away and the EPC contractors return to continue their work on the project.
The General Manager laments: “Unfortunately, we have been forced to move the commissioning date from March 31, 2020 to June 2020 due to circumstances beyond our control, including the outbreak of the coronavirus in China which has affected the movement of key Chinese experts who are to undertake critical works and pre-commissioning tests on sub stations in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as the SVC contract in Cote d’Ivoire.”
Mr. Sherif furthered that difficult terrain and poor condition of the roads are some of the challenges in the implementation of the CLSG project.
Meanwhile the affected EPC contractors from SEIYUAN have written the management of Transco CLSG invoking force majeure due to the travel restriction, which left management with no option but to shift the commissioning date to June 2020.
In addition to the Chinese experts being absence, final factory acceptance for the remaining equipment are put on hold as factories carrying out these testing are shut down.