Joule Africa has announced it has signed a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Government of Sierra Leone that will see the company expand its hydropower developments.

Under the agreement, Joule Africa and its local partner Energy Services Company (ESCO), through joint ownership of newly formed Seli Hydropower, will build an extension to the existing 50MW hydro station, Bumbuna I, situated in the north east of the country, adding a further 143MW of power capacity. Construction on the extension, Bumbuna II, is anticipated to start by mid-2018 with operations forecast to start four years later. Seli Hydropower will be responsible for building, owning and operating Bumbuna II.

‘We are pleased to have reached this important milestone and thank the Government of Sierra Leone for their continued support,” commented Patrick Beckley, Executive Chairman of Seli Hydropower Limited and Chairman of ESCO. “The development of Bumbuna II has always been a key part of the country’s energy strategy and we look forward to being able to deliver a value-for-money solution for Sierra Leone’s electricity distribution and supply authority, EDSA, and affordable, all-year round power for the consumers of Sierra Leone.”

“I am delighted that we have reached this significant milestone in the development of this most important of national and regional energy project,” added Andrew Cavaghan, Founder and Executive Chairman of Joule Africa and Director of Seli Hydropower. “Joule Africa has been operating in Sierra Leone since 2010 and has built up some very strong relationships in-country during that time. We have also in place an in-house team very capable of delivering and operating this hydro project, safely and reliably.” 

 Seli Hydropower is now in the process of appointing an experienced contractor and finalising the funding, both of which are well underway, the company said in a statement.

Commenting on the agreement announced yesterday, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, said: “The Government of Sierra Leone is prioritising power generation and seeks to increase accessibility by the population to electricity as part of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this, Sierra Leone has set itself a target of increasing the proportion of households with access to electricity, via the national grid, from 13.5% at the end of 2015 to 30% by the end 2030. The successful construction and operation of both Phase I and II of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Power Project form a critical part of the Government of Sierra Leone’s long-term energy strategy.