Bumbuna Hydro II Gets US$6 Million Funding

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By Theresa Kef Sesay

It was reliably disclosed to this medium that a funding of US$6 million has been approved to help with the development of the 143MW Bumbuna Hydro II initiative in Sierra Leone.

InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has signed an agreement with lead developer Joule Africa to provide the funding, which forms part of a package involving the private sector and development finance institutions designed to ensure that Bumbuna Hydro II can reach construction and operation goals.

“As part of the PIDG, InfraCo Africa is uniquely positioned to be nimble and flexible, providing timely development capital and expertise at any point in the lifecycle of a project,” commented InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes. “Often we are needed in the early stages to develop a concept or prove a pioneering model but, as in the case of Bumbuna Hydro II, we can also come in at a later stage to help with the critical and final push across the finishing line and participating in the project’s steering committee, particularly  in  these challenging  times. Bumbuna Hydro II is expected to have a tremendously positive impact, powering sustainable economic development in Sierra Leone,” he continued.

The project is being delivered by renewables developer, Joule Africa, through a local project company, Seli Hydropower. Located on the Upper Seli River, 230km north east of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, the Bumbuna Hydro II project will enable distribution of significant additional power to the national grid.

“InfraCo Africa’s commitment to Bumbuna Hydro II and Joule Africa comes at a crucial stage for us as we enter the last lap in the development of the Project,” explained Paul Kunert, CEO of Joule Africa. “With InfraCo Africa’s commitment and a respected equity partner shortly to come in, we now have the funding in place to reach financial close next year. We’ve been working with PIDG over a number of years and we’re delighted to be able to expand that relationship with InfraCo Africa today.”

InfraCo Africa is committed to supporting the Government of Sierra Leone’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan. This new investment into the country’s renewable energy sector complements InfraCo Africa’s work elsewhere in the country to develop the pioneering Sierra Leone mini-grid project. Delivered across 41 sites, Sierra Leone mini-grid will roll out off-grid solar technology at scale, delivering clean, first time power for remote homes and businesses.

Bumbuna Hydro II also exemplifies the capacity of the wider PIDG to engage with and support projects from concept to  commercial  reality. PIDG’s Technical Assistance (PIDG TA) supported the project’s early development via returnable and technical assistance grants to fund an embedded advisor to the GoSL. The involvement of PIDG company, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), has also been central in enabling the project to progress to this stage.

Bumbuna Hydro II is expected to begin construction in 2021.

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