AfDB to review development of Senegalese power plant after complaints

21st April 2017 By: Megan van Wyngaardt - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will review compliance eligibility at the €206-million, 125 MW Sendou coal-fired power plant project, in Senegal, following several community complaints.

Two groups raised eight similar issues with the bank, including an unviable government policy option to use a coal-fired power plant for Senegal; the selection of the project site in violation of the national code of the environment; increased vulnerability of communities to air pollution and potential disruption of livelihoods because of the proximity of the coal-fired power plant to the town and the adverse impact of the coal-fired power plant on a heritage site.

The groups further highlighted imminent health risks from air pollution owing to emissions from the Sendou plant; increased vulnerability of the community due to coastal erosion; inadequate public consultations with people affected by the project and a breach of the AfDB’s environmental, social and human rights standards.

In particular, the groups said no resettlement action plan had been prepared to mitigate the project’s negative social impacts.

Further, the AfDB found that noncompliance would lead to the disruption of livelihoods of over 1 000 women and other seasonal and temporary workers who have informal businesses that dry and package fish.

Following registration of the complaints, the AfDB noted that adequate mitigation measures needed be put in place before the plant became operational by the end of this year, since noncompliance with the involuntary resettlement policy, integrated water resources management and the environmental review procedures for the private sector operations, would harm the nearby communities.

The project is being developed on a “build, own and operate” basis and will supply up to 40% of Senegal’s electricity. The country currently derives 80% of its electricity from diesel-fuelled power generation.

Coal will be imported by sea and unloaded at Dakar harbour, from where it will be transported by truck to the coal storage site at the plant.

The project will produce 925 GWh/y of electricity.

The power will be delivered to the national interconnected grid system of Senelec, Senegal’s public electricity utility company. The project includes the development, design, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the coal-fired power plant on a 22 ha site.

Power production can be expanded to 250 MW through a second phase, for which project preparation has not yet started. The developers will also build a 1.6 km 225 kV transmission line and associated switchyard to connect the plant to Senelec’s grid.