A call for tenders has just recently been launched jointly by the Gambian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the selection of a consultant to provide technical assistance for the implementation of a 150 MW solar project.
The Gambia wants to implement a 150 MW solar project to increase the capacity of its electricity grid. For this purpose, the government, with the support of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is launching a call for tenders to select a consultant for technical assistance for the project.
The company selected as a result of this call for tenders will have the primary responsibility for preparing the feasibility study for the project. It will also have to ensure that the land is available for the construction of the future solar power plant. The Gambian government has already identified a 225-hectare plot of land in Soma, a town in central Gambia, near the border with Senegal. This is a strategic site as it is located near a 225/30 kV OMVG substation under construction.
A two-phase solar project
The consultant selected following the Gambian government’s tender will help to issue permits to independent power producers (IPPs) for the negotiation and signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the National Water & Electricity Company (Nawec), which provides water and electricity utilities in Gambia. To reduce the cost of electricity purchase, the Gambian government will set up an auction mechanism. This mechanism should also include the right for IPPs to have access to land for the construction of the solar power plant.
Finally, the consultant will prepare the lines that will connect the future solar photovoltaic power plant to the substation. The government plans to implement this project in two phases. The first is the construction of a solar photovoltaic power plant that will be able to supply 80 MW. It will be commissioned in 2021. With an expected capacity of 70 MW, the second phase will be completed in 2025. The solar park will have a battery storage system with a capacity ranging from 100 Mwh to 150 MWh. The device will allow the plant to supply electricity after sunset. This storage capacity could be extended “according to the needs of the network”.
This solar photovoltaic project is part of a renewable energy programme launched with great fanfare by the government with the support of its partners, including the World Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB). For its implementation, the two donors released $164 million in March 2019 to support the Gambian government.
Jean Marie Takouleu