By Kebba Jeffang
The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) on August 3, signed a contract of a new generator with a capacity of 8.9 megawatts for the Brikama power plant, with Wartsila. The move according to officials, will replace an old functioning generator and boost the existing capacity for the struggling national electricity company. It will take about seven months before this machine is commissioned.
“We are gathered to sign an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract of replacing an 8.9MW generator at the Brikama II power plant. This will in no small measure boost our generating capacity in the very short term,” said NAWEC Managing Director, Mr. Baba Fatajo. He noted that the project will be completed between 6 to 8 months and it is part of the World Bank funded project dubbed ‘Gambia Energy Support Project,’ (GESP), being implemented by NAWEC. According to him, the said project is being implemented at a tune of 2 million Euros; that once it is completed, they will be availed of a brand new Wartsila engine. “The Contractor, Wartsila, happens to be the manufacturer of this engine and are long standing partners with NAWEC. We therefore have no doubt in their ability to deliver the project within it’s time limit,” Fatajo said.
He said the move is in connection to the excellent practical strategies outlined in the energy road map adopted few weeks ago in their quest to transform the energy sector, including power supply. ‘‘We consider electricity as a human right that should be reliable and accessible to all,” he said. However, Fatajo appealed for patience as several efforts are being employed by NAWEC and government, which will soon come to fruition.
Momodou Njie, permanent secretary at the Energy ministry said, the brand new generator is part of government’s short term plan to see off the energy crisis in the country. He encourages the use of energy saving devices which could considerably enable NAWEC to recover the much needed capacity. “The energy sector remains one of the most important priorities of the Gambia government, taking into account its centrality in national development. Government is resolved to transform NAWEC and make it financially viable, robust and efficiently capable of responding to the energy needs and aspirations of the people of The Gambia,” Njie said.
He discloses government’s intention to intensify efforts of renewable energy use through private sector investment, with a view to cutting down on NAWEC’s operational cost and make electricity affordable to the population.
Ouseynou Ndiaye, General Manager, Sales and Marketing for Wartsila West Africa, described the project as a satisfying one. He said the move enlarges his organization’s foot print as they continue to be more global. “This production is not less important for the production of NAWEC because it represents 99, 000 kilowatts which makes it very satisfying for the population,” he said.
Tijan Bahoum, representing the board of directors of NAWEC said the company continues to face challenges as demands of consumers become higher. He assured that they will continue to look for solutions to stabilize the power supply in the country.