The boards of directors of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, IFC, have approved an US$86 million loan, as well as an US$82 million partial risk guarantee to support the Kribi power project that is expected to supply reliable electricity to over 160,000 households in Cameroon.
These funding arrangements will enable Cameroon’s first long-term project finance from local banks to the country’s electricity sector.
The Kribi power project ‒ the first power plant to run on natural gas in Cameroon ‒ has two main components: The first consists of the development, construction and operation of a new 216MW natural gas-fired power plant located near the Mpolongwe village, 9km north of the coastal city of Kribi in the South Province of Cameroon. The second consists of the development and construction of a new 100km, 225-kilovolt, double-circuit transmission line between the Kribi power plant and the existing Mangombe 225/90-kV substation at Edéa in Littoral Province, including substations and transformers.
“The project targets 163,000 households or approximately 815,000 people, 50% of whom are women. Combined with the 50MW of capacity the project will supply indirectly to Alucam, the country’s aluminum smelter, we expect very positive benefits for the economy,” said Gregor Binkert, country director for Cameroon.
The project was conceived against the background that Cameroon’s 1,021MW capacity was insufficient to meet its electricity demand and the development of low-cost hydropower, including the Lom Pangar dam on the Sanaga River, was not expected before 2015.
Cameroon has the potential to generate up to 6,000MW of reliable all-season hydropower on the Sanaga River in the medium term. The Kribi gas power project provides a low-cost gas power supply option that will come on-line by the latter part of the dry season of 2012/2013.
The government of Cameroon and the private sponsor AES Corporation, have created the Kribi Power Development Company to implement the Kribi power project as a public-private partnership. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$350 million.