American power generation company launches 53MW plant in Senegal

Senegal’s industrial development has gotten a boost with the inauguration of a 53 MW Cap des Biches power plant in Rufisque just outside of Dakar, the Senegalese capital by ContourGlobal, the U.S.-based power generation company.

“The execution of the Cap des Biches power plant is a decisive step in the Plan Senegal Emergent,” said Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, General Manager of Senelec, the national utility of Senegal. “With the support of the Senegalese Government, Senelec has set up an energy policy that combines energy mix with satisfying demand at the lowest possible prices. This will help the country’s fight against poverty and ensure the industrial development of Senegal.”

The Cap des Biches power plant is the largest investment by a U.S. company in Senegal. It is an 86 MW thermal generation facility developed and constructed by ContourGlobal in two phases—53 MW that began generating electricity in April 2016 after only 14 months of construction, and a second phase consisting of 33 MW that broke ground in January 2016 and will generate electricity by September 2016. The new power plant was designed to utilize the existing facilities and infrastructure of an old power plant site to lower the cost of development and construction, thereby enabling the Cap des Biches facility to produce the lowest cost thermal generation in Senegal.

Joseph C. Brandt, President and Chief Executive Officer of ContourGlobal explained at the inauguration on Monday that the American company and Senelec committed to the Cap des Biches power project in Washington DC in August 2014 during the Africa Leaders’ Summit convened by US President Barack Obama.

“This power plant has been enabled by two visionary commitments to eliminate poverty and bring the benefits of development to the African continent—President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative and President Macky Sall’s Plan Senegal Emergent,” Brandt said.

A statement by ContourGlobal said that the Cap des Biches power plant is designed to operate day and night. It is expected to significantly boost Senegal’s economic growth.

The project’s innovative financing model brings together two leading development finance institutions: Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group (IFC), with OPIC providing an 18-year financing of $91 million for Phase I, and IFC providing an 18-year cross currency swap of the same amount and tenor. OPIC and IFC intend to underwrite a similar structure for the $41 million financing planned for Phase II.

Representatives of organizations involved in the project, including Wärtsilä Oy, the company that constructed the power plant, were present at the inauguration. Senegal’s Present Macky Sall was also present.

The project sees ContourGlobal expand its reach in Africa. The developer and operator of electric power generation facilities, inaugurated its methane gas facility and power plant at Lake Kivu in Rwanda a month ago.