Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 182 out of 189 on the United Nations’ Human Development Index. One major impediment to economic growth is limited access to electricity: Only about one-quarter of the population has a reliable source of power and that shrinks to about six percent in rural parts of the country.
This shortage leaves the country highly dependent on expensive offshore energy barges that burn heavy fuel oil (HFO), as well as generators running on diesel. And because more than half of Sierra Leone’s installed generation capacity comes from hydropower, power generation is highly vulnerable to drought.
Solution and Impact
DFC has committed to providing financing to support the development of an 83.5 MW combined cycle thermal power plant, which will initially be fueled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) before converting to liquefied natural gas (LNG), a cleaner and more energy-efficient fuel.
As Sierra Leone’s first large utility-scale independent power project, and its first ever gas-fired power project, this power plant is expected to increase the country’s effective generation capacity by about 75 percent and provide hundreds of gigawatt hours of power per year for homes, businesses, hospitals, and health facilities. In addition, this stable baseload power source will help contribute to the future integration of large-scale intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, by providing a reliable counterbalance to consumers’ fluctuating power consumption on the electricity grid.