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Gambia River agency seeks construction supervision for 128-MW dam

Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Gambie (OMVG), which includes Guinea, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia, also seeks expressions of interest from consultants by August 4 to provide technical assistance for implementation of its hydropower-based energy project. OMVG recruited technical-legal and environmental management consultants last year to advance development of the energy project, which includes Sambangalou on the Gambia River catchment in Senegal, the transmission lines, and the 240-MW Kaleta project in Guinea on the Konkoure River.

According to Hydroworld news services, OMVG courted private sector partners in 2009 to develop the hydro projects and grid interconnection. The energy project is funded by eight international lending organisations.

The propose works will be located 930 km upstream from the mouth of the Gambia River and about 25km south of Kédougou. The dam will be located in Senegal, and part of the 185 km2 reservoir will be in Guinea.

When completed, the countries involved namely Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia will enjoy low-cost, renewable energy. This project originally formed part of a larger OMVG project which entailed an interconnecting power grid with the Kaleta Dam in Guinea. The availability of low-cost electricity will lead to increased regional power trade and enable regional integration. The additional electricity made available through this project will also increase the region’s energy security.

The total estimated project value is $US454,500,000 and construction is expected to begin later this year and last for four years.

The site of Sambangalou Dam is located in Senegal 930km upstream from the mouth of the Gambia River and about 25km south of Kédougou. It consists of a well-established dam site with a capacity of 128 MW and a potential for 400 GWh, with irrigation and flood control prospects. This site was chosen given the power deficit in the region and the high dependence on imported oil and use of environmentally damaging hydrocarbon power generation.

The proposed dam and reservoir at Sambangalou is in Senegal and the reservoir overlaps Senegal and Guinea. The project zone covers Guinea (reservoir and relocation zone), Senegal (main dam works, including part of the reservoir), a downstream Senegalese reach and then a Gambian downstream reach to the sea. Guinea-Bissau is not directly affected.

The project will be financed by the OMVG members with assistance from the African Development Bank, EIB, the World Bank, AFD, BIDC, BOAD, KFW, Abu Dhabi. The financing plan is not yet finalised. Donors have pledged about USD 190 million for the project, leaving a financing gap of about USD 265 million.

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