By Yankuba Jallow
Nani Juwara, the managing director of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) on Saturday, 6th June said they are targeting over six hundred and eighty-five communities to access electricity in the next 36 months.
“We are targeting over 685 communities countrywide to have access to electricity in the next 36 months,” Juwara said.
He said this at the laying of the foundation stone of the Greater Banjul Area transmission and distribution modernization project at the Jabang substation.
“This is indeed a significant milestone in our drive to improve and modernize the dilapidated electricity infrastructure in the country to meet the expectations of our customers,” he said.
He said the project is co-funded by the World Bank, European Union and European Investment Bank as part of The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP) at a total project costs of US$23,184,685.86 and the contract is awarded to TBEA through a competitive bidding process.
MD Juwara said the contract for this project includes the design, supply and installation of a 17KM 225kV high Voltage transmission line from Brikama to Jabang, 225kV/33kV substation in Jabang, 33kV substation in Kotu with additional 33kV lines to be constructed to interface with the existing network. In addition, he said the first ever modern state of the earth National Control Center will be constructed in Brikama as part of this project.
Juwara said the objective of the project is to transform and enhance the transmission and distribution capability of NAWEC to international standard.
“This project will improve NAWECs dispatching capacity, reduce technical losses, improve network stability and enable the utility to incorporate more Renewable energy sources into the grid. It is also going to create an opportunity for us to operate at the same transmission level as the OMVG network and easily integrate with the rest of the WAPP network,” he said.
He pointed out that the Government of The Gambia has initiated an ambitious programme with the support of its development partners to provide universal access to electricity country-wide by 2025 and therefore, the laying of this foundation stone will be a key enabler in achieving that noble goal.
As part of efforts to achieve universal access to electricity by 2025, he said NAWEC and MBH POWER have signed contract for the Laminkoto/Diabugu back borne project covering over 46 Communities and works are expected to commence before the end of the year.
Fafa Sanyang, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum said the project is part of the $164 million Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP). He added that the laying of the foundation stone for the Jabang substation clearly manifests the enormous efforts by Government to modernize our transmission and distribution infrastructure in the Greater Banjul Area
He detailed that The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP) has been designed to support the implementation of immediate priority investments to restore the delivery of electricity services in targeted municipal and regional areas and complement fiscal stabilization efforts. He said the project has three components, and one of the components is the GBA Transmission and Distribution Modernization Project.
He informed the press that the Electricity Sector Road Map, approved by the Cabinet in October 2017, casts a vision to modernize the energy sector for a new Gambia, and move toward 24/7 access to electricity for all Gambians. It identifies short, medium and long-term investment needs to modernize the electricity system in the Gambia with emphasis on the restoration of effective and efficient power supply services in the GBA.
He stressed that the Road Map, which is being updated and expanded to a Master Plan for Electricity, also puts into consideration increased power generation through renewable energy, modernization and expansion of Transmission and Distribution networks in the GBA and the country at large and create the requisite capacity to benefit from the regional energy interconnections.
He said the energy sector in collaboration with its development partners commits themselves to promote cost-effective generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity as well as set standards for electricity services, promote energy efficiency, determine appropriate tariffs, and create the enabling environment for private sector participation in the energy sector.
Ma Jianchun, the Chinese Ambassador to the Gambia said electricity is the main engine for the economic development adding since the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the global economy has been suffering, and the vast majority of African countries, including The Gambia, are facing the task of recovering their economies. China is willing to work with development partners including the World Bank to help The Gambia and other African countries achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.
He expressed delighted over the EPC project of Transmission Infrastructures in Great Banjul Area adding it is a model of international cooperation. The Project is planned by the Gambian Government, co-funded by the World Bank, European Investment Bank and European Union, designed and constructed by Chinese Companies, furthermore French and Spanish Companies are also involved in, which demonstrates the strong cooperation of the international community to support the development of the Gambia. He said: “I believe that, with the joint efforts and close cooperation of all partners, the implementation of this project will be successful with fruitful results.”
He emphasized that the Chinese company-TBEA, which responsible for the design and implementation of this project is a large-scale international energy company and service provider. As one of the Chinese brands, TBEA commits to share the international advanced power technology, China’s high-end product manufacturing and power construction experiences with the world. He said in Africa, TBEA also has extensive experiences in power transmission and distribution projects. He maintained that the company has successfully completed a lot of high-quality power transmission and distribution projects in Angola, Guinea, Ghana, Togo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and other countries.
“I believe, with its high-end manufacturing capability, advanced technology and abundant experiences, TBEA will complete this project successfully and hand over to The Gambia a high-quality demonstration project,” he said.
He said they strongly believe that under the unremitting efforts of the Gambian government and the Gambian people, and with the cooperation of the international development partners, the electricity infrastructure and energy sector of The Gambia will be further improved. He added that all social and economic fields will restore from the impact of the epidemic more quickly. Modern agriculture, industry and service industries will also develop better.