The years 2000-2003 were exceptionally dry in Cameroon. Coupled with an increase in the demand for electricity from all sectors of the population, this led to a serious shortage of power in the dry season. The consequent load-shedding was deeply unpopular. A project was therefore started to provide new permanent power generation to address the urgent electricity shortage in the country through AES Sonel, a utility and a subsidiary of AES Corporation from the United States. The utility decided to invest in an HFO power plant at Limbe to cover the shortfalls in a country where more than 90% of the power capacity comes from hydropower plants.
The Wärtsilä Solution
The Limbe power station generates approximately 80 MW of power to cover the projected shortfall in electricity in the southern region of Cameroon. The power generation plant operates between intermediate load and baseload during the dry season (November to March). During the wet season, the plant is expected to be primarily in standby mode, but is likely to operate at certain periods.
After considering various options for the location, it was decided to construct the 80 MW power plant adjacent to the SONARA refinery at Cape Limboh. Wärtsilä was responsible for the engineering, procurement, transportation, erection on site (including civil works), installation, testing and commissioning of the plant, and for providing performance guarantees. Wärtsilä succeeded in commissioning the plant within 12 months of order, despite facing tough ground conditions, strenuous
transportation to this rather remote area and the need to build an 80-metre-high exhaust stack. The power plant complies with all environmental criteria set by the World Bank and local regulations.
Wärtsilä’s solution also included financing. Wärtsilä Development & Financial Services actively supported AES Sonel in arranging the long term debt financing for the project. Two international financing institutions, Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (London) and FMO (The Hague), and a Dutch commercial bank together with Finnvera (the Finnish Export Credit Agency) financed the power plant. AES Sonel was also supported by local financial institutions including Standard Chartered Bank in Cameroon, which provided more than half of the construction funding, as well as Ecobank, Afriland First Bank and the Commercial Bank of Cameroon.
Fast-track projects with pre-engineered solutions
The modular design of Wärtsilä power plants enables fast-track delivery anywhere in the world. Prefabricated, functionally pretested modules guarantee consistent quality and performance. Site installation is simply a matter of assembling and connecting the modules. Modularity simplifies configuring the plant to meet specific needs - be they single cycle, combi-cycle, CHP, desalination, chilled water, industrial process steam, or hot water generation. Adding features is simply a matter of adding modules that are all pretested for compatibility and reliability. Pre-engineered solutions also speed up the planning and delivery process.