By Edward Vamboi
A 3-day technical assessment visit which started on the 16th February, 2020 to conduct an assessment on the construction of 450-500 kilowatts solar energy power plant at the Njala University in Taiama, as part of the Access to Renewable Energy Project in Sierra Leone came to an end on the 19th February 2020.
The Technical Assessment Team comprised a 7-man delegation from the African Union Development Agency, in domestication of Access to Renewable Energy (AUDA-NEPAD).
The visit, which came as a result of the participation of the Ministries of Planning and Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture, Lands and Environment; and Njala University, the Environment Agency and Union Trust Bank in a workshop organised by AUDA-NEPAD in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from the 11th to 14th October 2019 to discuss the tackling of the net deficit of power production within the continent and embarking on the strategic investment plan geared towards establishing reliable and sustainable electricity power generation in all the countries, including Sierra Leone, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso, that have huge deficit in energy.
Addressing the Mission, on behalf of the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, at the Ministry’s Conference Room, the Development Secretary, Peter Sam-Kpakra said the visit of the mission to Sierra Leone was a positive venture to addressing the various issues of energy supply in the country, especially with the rapidly increasing demand for electricity.
He said the successful implementation of the project will significantly boost electricity production to the beneficiaries at Njala University, where 450-500 kilowatt solar energy grid will be constructed, as a pilot project, with room for improvement in the near future.
Mr. Sam-Kpakra said the Government of President Julius Maada Bio is strongly supporting this venture to ensure that Sierra Leone fully gains access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. He assured the team of the Government’s strong commitment to addressing electricity problems across the country; noting that the project will be implemented to other parts of the country.
During the site visit at the Njala University, where the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, led a 10-man delegation, the team reviewed and assessed key data parameters to develop an operationalisation roadmap for the execution of the project, its benefit in creating a sustainable energy supply to the University and cut-down on the 100 million Leones running cost for a week, currently incurred by the University.
In assessing the existing facilities at the campus, the team also visited the Tiama River for a possible construction of a mini-hydro that will be used as an alternative power source during the rainy season.