The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone says in two years, energy access for Sierra Leoneans will further increase with the Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) electricity networks interconnection project which involves the construction of a 1,357-long double high voltage (225kv) line to connect the national networks of the four countries.
In his closing speech at the Parliament in Freetown recently, President Ernest Bai Koroma said the CLSG project will transverse seven districts (Pujehun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkolili, Bombali, Koinadugu and Kambia Districts). He added that Twenty-eight communities including schools and health centres will be provided with electricity supply when the CLSG project is constructed and commissioned in 2019.
“We promised, and we delivered!” declared President Koromo to a rousing applause.
“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, when we came into governance in 2007, total national power generation was less than 10 megawatts and Freetown, our nation’s capital was the darkest city on earth. But within the first three months in office, the APC Government switched on the lights. And by commissioning the 50MW Bumbuna Hydro Power Project, we increased the supply of electricity from less than 10 MW at the start of 2007 to 50 MW in 2009. Today, the installed capacity is 182MW. We have therefore introduced prepaid meters to guarantee access and sustainability,” President Koromo furthered.
He said with support from the Chinese, the APC Government has completed the Mini-hydro projects at Bankasoka, Charlotte and Makali. We have also completed Yele, and the construction is ongoing for another in Moyamba.
The APC Government, according to him, further embarked on the installation of new thermal plants in Lungi and Koidu/New Sembehun, in Port Loko/Lunsar, in Moyamba, in Kailahun, Bonthe, Pujehun, Kabala and Kambia/Rokupr. And we have commissioned a Bare Foot Solar Engineers Training Centre at Konta Line Village.
“We are also doing a complete overhaul of the Bo/Kenema Power Station to expand power generation and distribution. This includes the upgrade of the Dodo Dam to ensure a 12 MW all year-round supply of electricity with a target to serve the populations of Bo, Kenema and nearby villages.”
The Sierra Leonean Chief Executive also added that his government has commissioned a Hybrid system of Solar and hydro power to provide uninterrupted electricity to the River No. 2 community in the Western Rural Area. “And under the APC Government’s Rural Electrification Project, we completed the Installation of the first phase of 50,000 solar street lights across the country.”
President Koromo told members of parliament that through his government’s transformative Rural Renewable Energy Project, “we have embarked on increasing the electrification rate of households in the rural areas in order to boost the growth of businesses, health, schools and agricultural activities. In the short-term under this project, the APC Government has provided solar systems for 54 Chiefdom Health Centres (CHCs) and we are on course to expanding into 50 mini grids in those communities.”
Owing to all these efforts, overall access by end of 2015 exceeded 200,000 households. By 2017, overall access has exceeded 270, 000 households. “Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, (JICA) project, we are constructing 11/33 KV transmission network from Wilberforce to Sussex through Goderich, and the primary substation at Goderich.”
“And with DFID support, we are upgrading the Freetown distribution network stretching from Blackhall Road to Wellington. We are also constructing and installing substations at Wilberforce, Kingtom, Portee and Wellington.”
He continued that his Government also secured support from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) for the development of a 6 MW Solar Power Park to be installed at Newton. Commissioning of the Park will take place next week. “And with support from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)-we are strengthening and extending the medium and low voltage distribution networks in the Western Area. This project will provide relief against acute shortage of power distribution in the Western Area.”