Meridiam and Gabon Power Company successfully reached financial close on the Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric power plant (35MW)
Libreville, Gabon, July 02, 2021 – Gabon Power Company (GPC), a portfolio company of the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund (FGIS), and Meridiam, an independent investment Benefit Corporation specialised in the development, financing and long-term management of sustainable public infrastructures, have signed an agreement for the financing of the Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric power plant.
Located 100 km east of Libreville on the Mbei River, bordering the Crystal Mountains National Park, the new facility will have a capacity of 35 MW. The plant is expected to supply the national network up to 205 GWh per year including 13% of the electrical needs of Libreville, the capital of Gabon. It will lead to the replacement of existing thermal capacity and will save more than 150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. It will also benefit the electrification of rural areas such as Andock Foula, contributing to social inclusion in Gabon.
The purchase of construction equipment and materials from Gabonese companies will be favoured, thus supporting the diversification, development and economic recovery of the country. During the construction period, 800 direct jobs will be created on the site. Later on, during the operation phase, twenty Gabonese professionals will be responsible for running the hydroelectric plant. It is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2024.
The total funding required to build the dam amounts to €179 million, under a 30-year concession agreement. Kinguélé Aval is carried by Asonha Energie, a project company owned 60% by Meridiam and 40% by GPC, and is supported by several major financing institutions: IFC, the World Bank’s private sector, the African Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.
The implementation of the dam was the subject of in-depth preliminary studies, in order to mitigate its environmental and social impact. Asonha Energie has especially developed an action plan designed to generate biodiversity net gains, based on the “avoid-reduce-restore-compensate” method. This plan is carried out in close collaboration with the National Agency for the Protection of Nature (ANPN) and the Ministry of Water, Forests, Sea and Environment.
This project directly contributes to some United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs): building a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization that benefits all and foster innovation (SDG 9); provide affordable and clean energy (SDG7), and promotion of decent work and economic growth for all (SDG8).
Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nzé, Minister of State and Minister of Energy and Hydraulic Resources, declared: “The financing of this project is excellent news for Gabon. The mobilisation of these stakeholders is an incentive for other African and international partners: Gabon is presenting structuring projects with a strong social impact. As an essential component of the Transformation Acceleration Plan set out by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Ali BONGO ONDIMBA, the Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric power plant will reduce the price of energy supply and contribute to Gabon’s economic development. »
Marcellin Massila Akendengue, Managing Director of Gabon Power Company, stated: “As a 40% shareholder in this project, Gabon Power Company actively represents the interests of the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund and the Gabonese population. This innovative public-private partnership is a significant step forward in providing the utility company, ‘Société d’Énergie et d’Eau du Gabon’ (SEEG), with the opportunity to cover all the energy needs of Estuaire province’s network, through a competitive, sustainable and job-creating offer. »
Mathieu Peller, COO Africa for Meridiam, added: “The Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric power plant, our third project in Gabon after the Transgabonaise and the Owendo mineral port, is both symbolic and strategic for the country. It is part of our ambition to support Gabon’s economic and social development while contributing to its ecological transition. It is the result of an active and fruitful collaboration with the Gabonese authorities, the Gabon Power Company and the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund.”