By Oke Peter
The 130 MW Wärtsilä Flexicycle™ power plant is now fully operational in Malicounda. The plant has been officially inaugurated by President Sall on the 11th of February. Matelec, one of the leading energy companies in Africa, operates the plant, and a 10-year maintenance agreement with Wärtsilä will guarantee its high availability and reliability. Located in Mbour, 85 km south of Senegal’s capital Dakar, the plant is anticipated to deliver 956 GWh of power per year, which represents a 17% increase in the country’s power generation capacity.
Matelec, who was the plant EPC contractor, selected Wärtsilä for the delivery of its energy efficient 130 MW Flexicycle™ power generation technology. The Malicounda power plant comprises seven 18V50 engines and a steam turbine, combining the advantages of a simple-cycle operation with the high efficiency of a combined cycle plant. Its fast load-following power capability means that the plant is ideally suited to maintain system reliability, and able to offer the flexibility needed as intermittent renewable energy is progressively added to Senegal’s power grid.
The plant will initially operate on heavy fuel oil, however, there is an option to convert the plant to run on locally supplied gas from the GTA field once it becomes available, further lowering the cost of energy.
The Malicounda power plant is a central part of the government’s Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE) to strengthen the country’s emerging economy and provide electricity access to everyone by 2025. It was one of the first public private partnership (PPP) projects in West Africa, involving the Africa Development Bank, Africa50, the Infrastructure Development Fund for Africa, and Senelec, Senegal’s state power utility, setting a model of cooperation to meet the continent’s growing energy needs.
“We are grateful to our partners for having entrusted us to deliver our cutting-edge Flexicycle technology for this very important project. We have a well-established footprint in Senegal, and it is extremely satisfying to see yet another emblematic power plant equipped with our technology now in full operation. We are confident that that this highly efficiency plant will enable Senegal to reduce electricity production costs, ” added Marc Thiriet, Director, Africa at Wärtsilä Energy.
Wärtsilä is Senegal’s leading provider of power generating equipment, and already has 543 MW of installed capacity in altogether 20 power plants in the country. With the Malicounda power plant included, 458 MW of this capacity is under Wärtsilä long-term maintenance agreements.