SIERRA LEONE – Sierra Leone has signed a new power deal with Turkey’s Karpowership for the supply of additional power for the next 5 years.

 Karpowership which is the world’s largest operator of floating power plants, will according to the deal supply Sierra Leone’s state utility firm with power for the entire deal period.

A report by Africa Energy Portal revealed that under the new agreement, Karpowership will add 5 more megawatts to the current power that it supplies the West African Nation.

Karpowership will now be required to generate an average of 63 MW during the dry season and 23 MW during the wet season for Sierra Leone’s Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority.

Karpowership – part of the Karadeniz Energy Group – already supplies around 80% of the West African nation’s electricity via two powerships anchored off the capital Freetown under a contract signed in 2018.

The vessels are dual-fuel powered using either heavy fuel oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

With an electrification rate of just 5%, Sierra Leone’s current generation capacity falls well short of the needs of its 7 million citizens.

Lack of enough power generation capacity makes prolonged blackouts common even in the capital and urban areas.

The problem is also compounded by significant transmission and distribution network problems, resulting in losses of 34.5% of the electricity supply in the Freetown Capital Western Area alone in 2017.

The Government of Sierra Leone has however made practical steps towards addressing the electricity challenge.

It for instance, allocated US$15.6 million from the domestic 2018 budget to increase electricity generation, enhance existing thermal plants, and rebuild and enhance the distribution network.

In support of this initiative, development partners have also pledged US$43.7 million towards various projects in the energy sector.

Karpowership is part of the Karadeniz group, which is based in Turkey.

The group moved into the power sector in 1996 and now has 25 Powerships, with generation capacity of 4,100 MW.

Karadeniz’s powerships are produced through the conversion of  merchant vessel into a floating power plant, typically fueled by diesel or liquid gas used to generate electricity.

The ship is then dispatched to its destination where it connects to the local grid, supplying a steady stream of power.

They are particularly suitable for countries whose capacity is insufficient to meet growing demand, or where infrastructure has been destroyed by conflict.

Of the company’s 25 ships, 19 are working in 11 different countries while six are in reserve and can be deployed immediately to any region in the world.

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