The Energy Problem Is Beginning To See A Solution

This writer has put in print in past publications both in the English and French languages, articles addressing the electrical energy situation in our dear country Cameroon, and at the same time suggesting solutions to this endemic problem.

Now that the LOM PANGAR, MEMVE’ELE and MEKIN hydro electric projects, along with the KRIBI gas-to-electricity project are being implemented or seeing a beginning to such, we say bravo!! to His Excellency Paul BIYA for, it is better late than never. President Paul BIYA has worked tirelessly in this very important domain of energy self-sufficiency for Cameroon since he created, in the year 2006, the Electricity Development Corporation (EDC).

The dam being built at LOM PANGAR, with a storage capacity of about 6 billion cubic meters of water, will improve by about 62 percent the energy producing capacities of both the EDEA and SONG LOULOU hydro-electric power stations, and this as early as 2015.

The MEMVE’ELE power station will bring in an additional 201MW of generating capacity, the MEKIN project will add another 15 MW, the LOM PANGAR project will bring in 30 MW for the Eastern Region of the country, and the KRIBI gas-to-electricity project will add a further 216MW of new power to the national electricity grid.

In perspective therefore, Cameroon should have a total new generation capacity of about 462MW within the next five years, without forgetting the improvement that will be brought to the Edea and Song Loulou hydro facilities by the Lom Pangar project. Cameroon’s total generating capacity by the year 2017 could be about 1595 MW, including both hydro and thermal plants around the country.

Does this optimistic picture mean all has been said and done in the power generating capacity for Cameroon in the coming years? Not so soon I would say, because, a condition for Cameroon to be an emergent nation by the year 2035 as targeted, is for her to have full energy self-sufficiency with a reserve capacity of between 10 to 15 percent.

We should equally be able to export electrical energy to neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic. With the above in mind, Cameroon should have a generating capacity of at least 3000MW by the emergent year 2035, if she really plans on being an emergent nation by that time.
1.    That any on-going studies and discussions pertaining to huge hydro projects like the MENCHUM and NACHTIGAL be speeded-up in order that these projects become a reality in the next couple of years;
2.    That Independent Power Producers (IPPs) be encouraged to come into the country through various incentives that Government should provide;

3.    That alternative sources of energy like solar, wind and natural gas derived power be encouraged in the coming years;

4.    That the use of natural gas as a combustible fuel for power generation, such as is being done at the KRIBI thermal plant, be enhanced to other areas like LIMBE which is not too distant from the oil and gas fields in the Rio-del-Rey;

5.    That a NATIONAL ENERGY FUND be put in place, the monies to this FUND being derived from taxes imposed on all energy consumers (house-holds, businesses, industry and the State) as well as from part of the annual Cameroon Government public investment budget;

6.    That energy awareness, energy economy and energy efficiency be promoted among the Cameroonian public at large through the various public and private media.

Conclusion: President BIYA has very well kick-started the process of getting Cameroon back into normalcy as far as the power generating capacity of the country is concerned. What is now left to be done is a vigorous follow-up of this process in the coming years. Therefore, all hands have to be on deck as of this moment, if we sincerely hope to enjoy emergence by the year 2035!

*Electrical Engineer/Senior Energy Consultant
ENERGYAWARE, Cameroon Consultants Limited (ECCL)

Source: CPO


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