Construction work is set to start in the second quarter of 2020 on the 34MW run-of-the-river Kinguele Aval hydropower plant in Gabon, as Meridiam confirms it has signed a concession contract with the Government of Gabon to build the project.
Located on the Mbei River, the Kinguele Aval project will deliver about 13% of the electricity needs of Libreville, the capital city of Gabon, replacing thermal power capacities.
The 33-year concession signed by Meridiam includes the construction of a gravity concrete weir, a power plant, stilling basin and a substation. Commissioning is scheduled for the end of 2023.
During the construction period, 800 direct jobs will be created on site. And during the operation phase, twenty Gabonese professionals will be responsible for the operation of the hydroelectric power plant.
A comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in line with IFC performance standards confirmed low impact on fauna and flora and that no population will need to be resettled. Nevertheless, concrete actions will be implemented to the benefit of the environment and the social communities, said Meridiam, including:
- A biodiversity action plan will protect or rebuild habitats of endangered species with positive net gain. Financial support will be provided for research in botany and fish studies.
- Rural electrification will be addressed with the connection of the village of Andock Foula located 3km from the site and currently without electricity.
- Hospital staff and patients will be provided with new and modern equipment to ensure effective treatment of populations and workers on site.
- A fund will be set up to support local initiatives and assist local communities in developing sustainable activities.
Meridiam will own 60% of the Kinguele Hydropower project company with its partner FGIS (the sovereign wealth fund of Gabon) owning 40%. The €150 million Kinguélé Aval project is expected to be 75% financed by leading development banks, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
Meridiam is currently developing and financing 14 projects in Africa, which amount to more than €3 billion of capital expenditures, including: four solar power plants in Senegal for a total of 100MW; the 500MW Tulu Moye geothermal power plant, the first Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Ethiopia; and the Biokala biomass power plant in Cote d'Ivoire, the first biomass power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa.