A $132 MILLION (€100m) power station at Alenakiri outside Libreville will be up and running by the end of August, providing 70 megawatts of power to be shared by Gabon’s electricity company SEEG and the Gabon Special Economic Zone at Nkok. The Alenakiri site has been designed, built and supplied by the Israeli energy specialists Telemenia.
Powering up the capital
As Gabon becomes increasingly industrialised, more power is needed for both investors and the local population. Officials estimate that 183MW are needed for Libreville and its environs and that this will increase by 6 to 8 per cent a year. The government has responded by boosting the energy sector with power stations and hydroelectric dams, supplemented by gas thermal plants, with the aim of supplying Gabon with 1,200MW of power by 2020.
Construction of the Alenakiri station started in March 2010 and was completed in just over a year, with equipment and machinery brought over from Israel. The station’s four Man Diesel engines will run on natural gas, which is a more environmentally-friendly solution than heavy fuel oil.
Aaron Gal, managing director of Telemenia in Gabon, explains: “The engines run a little bit slower so they make less noise, but they are very efficient. These engines are the most advanced worldwide.”
The project is something of a first for Telemenia in Africa, he says. “Energy is mainly required in developing countries; this is where the business is. President Bongo wants to develop the country with his Green Gabon vision and he needs the means to provide energy. We have done small projects in other African countries, but this is a power station – this is the top, this is what a company like ours is looking for.”
The Israeli firm’s next project is a 105MW power station in Gabon’s oil capital of Port-Gentil, where the planned Ile Mandji industrial zone will increase energy demand substantially.