Technology group Wärtsilä will supply a 15 MWp solar PV power plant to Essakane Solar SAS in Burkina Faso. The solar PV plant will be built next to a 55 MW Wärtsilä power plant currently running on heavy fuel oil. The solar PV plant and the engine power plant will be controlled and operated in synchronization, thus forming the largest engine-solar PV hybrid power plant in Africa. Wärtsilä's scope covers the engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) for the solar PV power plant, including the control system for the hybrid plant. The power plant is scheduled to be operational in late 2017. The order is booked for the first quarter of 2017.
Essakane Solar SAS, 90% owned by global independent power producer EREN Renewable Energy (EREN) and 10% by its development partner African Energy Management Platform (AEMP), will operate the solar PV plant and sell the energy to IAMGOLD's Essakane Mine. The off-grid gold mine, located 330 kilometers northeast of the Burkina Faso's capital city, Ouagadougou, produces approximately 400,000 ounces of gold per year. Reliable and sustainable around-the-clock energy is a requisite for an off-grid mine location like this.
The ability to control and optimize the usage of engines and solar power will enable the mine to decrease its fuel consumption by approximately 6 million litres per year and to reduce its annual CO2 emissions by 18,500 tons. In addition, the project will create jobs for the region during the operation.
"This project represents a major breakthrough in the industry," explains Christophe Fleurence, Vice President, Business Development for Africa, at EREN. Hybrid solar PV-engine solutions will allow energy intensive industries to enter an era of more climate-friendly operations, improve business and increase resilience to oil price variation.
"EREN chose Wärtsilä for its meritorious track record in EPC projects in Africa and their commitment to design, deliver and support a reliable hybrid solution like this," continues Christophe Fleurence.
With this project Wärtsilä will have over 6800 MW of installed capacity on the African continent. Globally, Wärtsilä's installed base is over 63 GW in 176 countries.
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