Fafa Sanyang

Gambia’s water and electricity power house, Nawec has launched the country’s electricity sector roadmap that outlines short, medium and long-term measures.

The document casts a vision to modernize the country’s energy sector, which is currently in a precarious situation with old machinery that has been there for many decades. The blueprint has been endorsed by President Adama Barrow and his cabinet.

Since Mr Barrow’s government assumed power in January, the consumers in the Gambia are experiencing acute power and electricity shortage.

But, Fafa Sanyang, minister of Petroleum and Energy, said the launch of the roadmap is Nawec’s ultimate target to solve the ever standing demand for uninterrupted power and water supply in the country.

“We have just launched 20 megawatts in Brikama and expecting more,” he said.

“There are many international institutions that are interested to partner with Nawec but the proposal of the majority of them were not in the country’s favour. We are coming up with our mega resource to replace all the streetlights with energy bulbs.”

The Gambia’s power sector is in a precarious situation. Only 45 megawatts of generation capacity is available in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) compared to at least 70 megawatts demand, meaning blackouts are pervasive.

There is real reason for hope with potentially game changing developments as the ability to import low-cost power via a regional interconnection is possible.

Update on the electricity sector roadmap originally prepared in 2015 is focused on the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP).

Baba Fatajo, Nawec’s managing director, said the update helped to prepare an Emergency Plan for 2017.

He said the roadmap objectives are targeted to minimize disruptions and blackouts on the network and restore the GBA generation to at least 70 megawatts of available capacity by the end of 2017, and kick off preparation for the first IPP.

Mr. Fatajo added that between 2018 and 2020 they are hoping to close the generation gap and investments in transmission and distribution and commissioning the first IPPs which will follow the scaling of generation to 300 megawatts of available capacity by 2025 and expand access.

Some month ago, Nawec promised to settle the water and electricity failure in the country by December 2017 and Mr. Fatajo said they still maintain that target and are optimistic there will be improvements.