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Senelec: Improving the efficiency and reliability of Senegal’s electricity grid (by Miguel Artacho)

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Senelec: Improving the efficiency and reliability of Senegal’s electricity grid (by Miguel Artacho)

Electricity production plays a central role in the daily operation of Senelec

DAKAR, Senegal, October 14, 2021 / APO Group / –

By Miguel Artacho, field editor

Although Senegal’s major offshore oil and gas discoveries have made headlines in the energy sector in recent years, major developments are also underway in the electricity sector. These are led by the National Electricity Company of Senegal (Senelec) in partnership with the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and a variety of local and international investors involved in the power generation and energy sector. renewables in Senegal.

The history of Senelec (https://bit.ly/3ADTKTN) goes back many years, but was established in its present form in April 1998. It is one of the largest companies in the country and plays a role crucial in the electricity sector as a company in charge of the production, transmission, distribution and marketing of electricity throughout Senegal. The State of Senegal is the majority shareholder with 90.58% of the shares. Senelec also works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, headed by HE Minister Sophie Aissatou Gladima, which ensures the regulation and control of the electricity sector to make it both efficient and economically viable.

Senegal has a young and growing population, as well as an economy that is strongly recovering from the negative impact of the global pandemic. This has led to the constant annual increase in demand for electricity from both home and business sectors. In order to adapt to this growing demand for electricity, one of Senelec’s main challenges is to ensure adequate funding for new power projects and the continued expansion of Senegal’s power grid to ensure affordable and reliable energy. in economic centers such as Dakar or Saint Louis.

Liberalization of power

At the heart of Senelec’s new strategy is the liberalization (https://bit.ly/3FK8mF8) of the power generation industry, opening it up to the private sector to build and operate new power plants. However, Senelec will retain the monopoly on the distribution and transmission of electricity throughout the country. The company works closely with the Energy Sector Regulatory Commission (CRSE), which is the electricity sector regulatory body that conducts a variety of tenders for the participation of investors from the electricity sector.

Electricity production plays a central role in the daily operation of Senelec (https://bit.ly/3BJ63j0). The objective is to ensure the availability and the best possible maintenance of Senegal’s electricity production infrastructure, integrating a variety of energy sources, including hydrocarbons for thermal power plants, natural gas, hydroelectricity, solar and wind power. Senelec relies on the two power plants it owns, as well as on private sector plants that supply electricity to the grid. In recent years, Senegal has made great strides in developing renewable energy projects and to date up to 30% of the electricity produced in Senegal comes from renewable energy sources. The country plans to continue developing clean energy sources in order to have a balanced energy mix that respects the environment.

Network connection

Another key element of Senelec’s operations (https://bit.ly/3DA17xw) is the transmission of electricity through the interconnected power grid. Senelec has two electric transport networks, one national and the other international. The latter links Senegal to neighboring countries such as Mali and Mauritania. These international connections are particularly important in the near future, as once large-scale natural gas production begins in 2023, Senegal will be able to use natural gas for power generation not only to meet domestic demand, but also to potentially export electricity to neighboring countries. whose electricity networks are not yet as advanced as those of Senegal.

In terms of electrical distribution (https://bit.ly/3aBI0GV), Senelec uses both a 30Kv high voltage network and a low voltage network, which is used to deliver electricity to the end consumer. This is a process that requires significant technical capacity and, as such, Senegal has for many years been training highly qualified electrical engineers and technicians in the electricity sector to maintain the integrity and stability of the electricity sector. network. Senelec also continuously invests in upgrading and modernizing the country’s electricity grid so that it operates as efficiently as possible in order to minimize and mitigate the occurrence of power outages that are detrimental to individual consumers and in particularly in the industrial sector, because the loss of power can lead to the closure of an entire factory.

Innovation

One of the most notable innovations that Senelec has put in place in recent years is the establishment of a one-stop-shop as a means of improving the quality of the services (https://bit.ly/2YLTHZy) that are available for clients and potential investors. This allows them to have a single point of contact with Senelec to receive feedback or the resolution of any problems within seven days. The One Stop Shop works by having a committee made up of the different departments within the power company to ensure that all issues are resolved in accordance with best practice in the power industry. This project benefited from the support of the World Bank and the Senegalese Investment Promotion Agency APIX www.investinsenegal.com, and it contributed to the improvement of the country’s ranking in the “Doing Business Rankings” of the World Bank. .

Another important innovation is the adoption by SENELEC of the Yeesal Plan (https://bit.ly/3BGa9sd) SENELEC 2020. The project started in 2017 and is oriented towards the adoption of ISO 9001 certifications throughout the processes of the company. In the Wolof language of Senegal, Yeesal is synonymous with renewal, transformation and reconstruction. Some of the more ambitious aspects of the plan include accelerating access to electricity to 100% of Senegal’s rural population and halving household electricity bills.

To achieve its various objectives, Senelec does not wish to depend solely on the public sector for its financing and has thus adopted the formula of Public Private Partnership (PPP). Today, investors in the electricity sector can join Senelec and participate in the construction or operation of new power plants and continue to support the dynamism of Senegal’s renewable energy sector which has seen some of the most successful projects. success stories from sub-Saharan Africa such as the Taiba N ‘The Diaye wind farm is operated by Lekela Power, which is one of Senegal’s largest wind energy projects and represents a key component of the Emerging Senegal Plan. The project is designed to generate electricity for at least 20 years from its 46 wind turbines. Meanwhile, up to $ 20 million will be invested under this one-of-a-kind project in broader socio-economic projects for the Taiba N’Diaye region (https://bit.ly/3oXsxcJ) .

In response to the growing demand for renewable energy and the growing interest of international stakeholders to invest, develop and succeed in Africa, Energy Capital & Power will own the MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power (https://bit.ly / 3DGHIew) 2021 conference and exhibition on 2 and 3 December 2021. Focused on strengthening regional partnerships, stimulating investment and development in the oil, gas and electricity sectors, the conference will bring together regional international actors with African opportunities, serving as a growth driven platform for Africa’s energy sector. Read more about the conference here: The Energy Minute: MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021 (https://bit.ly/3iYZhyg)

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