Antonio Serifo Embalo, high commissioner of the Council of Ministers of The
Gambia River Basin Development Project (OMVG in French) has revealed that
construction works for a hydro-electric sub-power stations in Soma and Brikama
will begin in February 2019. These two sub-power stations are expected to
provide electricity in the Jarras, Kiangs and the Fonis to Brikama.
Dr. Embal told the State House Media Corps that his mission in Banjul was to update the president, who is the chairman of the Council of the Heads of States of the OMVG member countries, about key matters of imporatnce.
“We want to assure you that we are on the ground. We have already launched the works in Guinea, under the supervision of President Alpha Conde. We are here within that context to get the blessing of President Adama Barrow to launch the works at Soma substation with him laying the foundation stone,” the diplomat said.
President Barrow has accepted to launch the project which will also include the interconnection lines from Soma to Brikama. The works will kick off in February 2019. “This project lies at the heart of our industrialization as power is key to development. Energy is also part of the five priority programmes of the Gambia’s development blueprint (NDP 2018-2021),” he said.
The government of Guinea has decided to give 30 per cent of the 250Mega Watts project to three other member states (Senegal, Bissau and The Gambia). The council of ministers in return requested the High Commission to sign an energy purchase contract with member states to guarantee the production amount each will receive from two different hydropowerdams.
The first component of the energy project is the construction of a transmission line of 1,700 kilometres to link the member countries of the OMVG, through 15 substations. In The Gambia, 183 kilomettres of transmission lines will be built from Soma (LRR) to Brikama, West Coast Region.
Minister of Environment, Mr. Lamin Dibba explained that the launching preparations are at an advanced stage. “The contractors are already on the ground and they have brought in their equipment and machinery for the construction of these substations,” he added.
Gambia has also got clearance from the World Bank to go ahead with the commencement of the interconnection lines.
He said the kick off experienced some delays for four to five months. Originally, it was scheduled to be completed in 2019 September. However, the officials said that the Gambia substations can be completed within that time or even earlier…
“I believe that the interconnection lines can be completed within December 2019. Funds are already mobilised for the lines up to $770million. Eight donors have contributed to this project and works have begun in earnest,” Minister Dibba said.
“We have launched the central dispatching station in Guinea that will connect the other four countries that would change the lives and livelihoods of these communities in the four countries and impact on business in the sub region. Gambia will receive 54 megawatts from the two different dams. When completed, Gambia will have 75 to 100 MW.