By Mustapha Darboe
A Senegalese electricity company has agreed to supply the Gambia’s power utility through Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said on Friday.
According to the ministry’s statement, the development came after the Gambian minister of petroleum visited Dakar, the capital of Senegal, earlier this month.
“The outcome of the visit was the finalisation of a memorandum of understanding between the two national utilities and the initializing of a highly concessional draft Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the two Utilities,” the release stated.
The PPA deal would interconnect cross-border points of Keur Ayib (Zone 1), Karang (Zone 2), Tamba Kunda (zone 3) and supply by SENELEC immediately to NAWEC between three (3)MW to ten (10) MW and possibility of expanding as the capacity of the network grows.
Baba Fatajo, the director of the energy company, said the supply from the Senegalese electricity company SENELEC will significantly complement Gambian power utility NAWEC’s efforts.
He said most parts of rural Gambia will soon start enjoying 24 hrs of electricity supply, a significant milestone in the rural electrification program, it said.
“Our team is working on connecting Farafenni, Soma and Kerewan. Soon those areas could experience 24 hours electricity supply,” Fatajo told The Standard.
NAWEC is currently facing a serious financial complications, accumulating a staggering D9 billion debt over an unspecified period of time.
The finance minister told lawmakers two weeks ago that the indebted public institution also struggles with old generators and an unsustainable operational cost.
NAWEC currently covers about 42% of the country’s energy needs.
Senegal currently has about 200 megawatts of surplus, 20 of which it wants to sell to Mali.
NAWEC’s director Baba Fatajo told journalists months ago that they need over US$66M to meet the projected power demand of the country which is 150MW.
The highest the country could obtain was 80MW, which has now dropped to 40MW, Fatajo said.
The release said the objective of the deal is to align “our policies, strategies and mutually defend our interest given that we all belong to the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP)”.