State House, Banjul – Officials of The Gambia River Basin Development Project (OMVG) have announced that the interconnection transmission and distribution line for the hydroelectric power supply of the Samba Ngallo Dam project in Guinea would reach the shores of The Gambia in 2019.
The officials were at the State House yesterday to brief President Adama Barrow, who is the current chairman of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the OMVG, about the status of the implementation of OMVG projects as well as the next OMVG summit to be hosted in The Gambia in November 2018. Other member countries include Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry.
“The project is a part of The Gambia’s Energy Roadmap and one of the cheapest and clean sources of energy. It also opens up the West African energy market. Other dams are being built and readied; and we are targeting to supply the entire West Africa. We are also working on the transmission and distribution lines all the way from The Gambia to Senegal,” Gambia’s Minister of Energy, Fafa Sanyang, explained.
“The transmission line from Soma to Brikama, called the western backbone, at 225KVA is very important to provide stable energy supply. We are working on either transmission lines to have less power interruptions,” Sanyang added, maintaining that energy remains a top priority for the government. He revealed that it would take 18 months to complete the transmission works on the grid.
The project comprises two components: first is the extension of West African Power Pool (WAPP) transmission network, called the OMVG Interconnection. It comprises of construction of 1,677 kilometers of 225-volt transmission network capable of handling 88 Megawatt. Second is the construction of 15 sub-stations of 225/30 KW each. Two of these sub stations will be built in The Gambia, including one in Soma.
Dr Antonio Serifo Embalo, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of OMVG, described the project as the most important energy project in the four-member countries. “In terms of energy production and distribution, the OMVG is the most important. In the past, it has always been about theories. Now, it is a turning point: from theories to practical situations,” Dr Embalo said.
“The OMVG transmission lines construction has today reached 16 contractors, and materials for the interconnection lines are already on the ground in all the four countries. We are looking at the renewable energy from the dams to be distributed to the countries,” he explained, noting it is a turning point from the conventional way of producing electricity, which is going to be far less costly.
Mr Lamin Dibba, Minister of Environment, said there are a lot of environmental impact studies that are ongoing, especially impacts on ecosystems and mangroves. “Those studies focus on the river, the environment and how it is affected. The important thing is the deadline, for example, the interconnection line for which we already have a dam operating in Guinea. To access that, we need such an interconnection line,” he said.
“Already we have mobilised the financing, which is $722 million. The four countries have signed the contracts. In The Gambia, we have two sub-stations that would be constructed,” he added.