Sendou power station
The Sendou power station, also known as the Bargny power station, was a 125-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant in Sendou, Senegal. It is owned by the consortium Senelec, led by Nykomb Synergetics Development AB.
In July 2019, the plant halted operations following years of opposition and issues. The plant's future status is unclear.
The international tender for the Sendou power station was launched on 18 November 2005. The agreement between the Minister of Energy of Senegal and the Director General of Senelec (Société nationale d'électricité du Sénégal) on one side and Nykomb Synergetics on other side was signed on 24 January 2008 in Dakar. The agreement stipulated construction and operation of the power station by the Nykomb Synergetics-led consortium, and generated power purchasing by Senelec. The power station is planned as a coal-fired single unit power station with a total generating capacity of 125 MW and a planned lifetime of 25 years.
The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment was done in March 2009. In November 2009, the African Development Bank (AFDB) approved a senior loan of up to Euros 55 million for Nykomb to build the plant. However, due to a lack of additional funds, the project was delayed for four years.
In November 2013, full funding was secured. PwC, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur, and Legis were financial advisers for the project. In 2014 it was reported that operation of the first unit was planned for 2016.
2015: Project halted by public opposition
In April 2015, a complaint was lodged against Nykomb alleging violation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The complaint stated that the project would be in close proximity to several inhabited structures; had not engaged meaningfully with local communities that publicly opposed the project; and would contribute to water and air pollution without an Environmental Management Plan.
In 2015, construction of the Sendou plant was halted, at least temporarily, because of funding problems and protest by Bargny residents, including a 100-km march organized by Waterkeeper Alliance.
2016: Construction resumes
In September 2016, it was reported that after a shutdown of several months, construction had resumed in January despite the financial difficulties and the hostility of local residents. Completion was expected in 2017. It was also reported that in July 2015 AFG agreed to sell its 50% share of the project to the Quantum group, owned by the Israeli magnate Idan Ofer, for 22 million Euros. Nykomb would also cede part of its participation to create a clear majority.
According to Environmental Justice Atlas, farmers report that bulldozers have entered their fields to clear the land in October 2017, and construction work continued. The farmers fear land grabbing without having been consulted. Satellite imagery from Planet showed the construction developments from April 2016 to March 2018.
Operation was planned for 2018, after which the plant could be converted to run on natural gas once more domestic gas is available.
2018: Operation and Significant Disturbances Begin
Senelec's annual report noted that a 115 MW plant was put into service on June 27, 2018. However, the official "completion" date was not noted until October 21, 2018, after additional capacity tests. The plant recorded 42 faulty events or "trips" on Senelec's grid in the year 2018 alone, leading to significant disturbances.
In February 2019, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved the recommendations of the Independent Review Mechanism to bring the Sendou coal-fired power plant project into compliance with AfDB policies and procedures. The Board’s decision triggered the process of resolving the main concerns raised by the complainants that the Sendou power plant is having negative impacts and consequences on their environments and their lives.
2019: Project called off
The power plant has not been operating since July 2019, and in December 2019, the President of Senegal said the project had been called off. According to 350.org, "The cancellation of the coal project comes after a series of technical failures, financial difficulties and conflicts between shareholders which had paralysed the project in the last four months, halting the importation of coal and causing the dismissal of project workers." According to Action Solidaire International, “While we as campaigners in Senegal welcome the presidential decision, we are wary of the ‘transition plan’ suggested by the Senegalese President that is considering turning the coal plant into a gas facility. We shall also resist this gas facility."
Potential Future Plans
Senegalese subcontractor Maor Technologies pulled out of the project in mid-2020 for lack of funds.
In 2021, just two and a half years after its inauguration, the Sendou coal-fired power plant is in default with several dozen creditors. The courts have already reportedly placed it in receivership.
According to March 2021 reporting, plans for the plant’s future are unclear. Aly Sagne, the director of Lumière Synergie pour le Developpement (LSD), a Senagalese NGO that monitors the activities of international development banks in West Africa, noted that a Swedish developer may be trying to restart the plant. As noted above, there are also rumors in the community that Sendou might be converted into a gas-fired power plant.
Senelec is a consortium that was incorporated to develop and operate the Sendou power station. The consortium is led by Nykomb Synergetics Development AB and it consists of Vattenfall Power Consult, Maytas, BHEL, BMCE Bank, Standard Bank of South Africa and Comptoir Balland-Brugneaux.
AfDB eligibility assessment
In April 2017, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved the eligibility assessment for compliance review for the construction of the project. The Board also authorized that Independent Review Mechanism experts carry out further investigations to clarify issues raised in complaints representing adversely affected members of the local communities affected by the project. The groups raised the following issues: (1) unviable government policy, (2) violation of the National Code of the Environment in the selection of the project site, (3) increased vulnerability of communities to air pollution and potential disruption of livelihoods in a historic heritage site, (4) imminent health risks from air pollution, (5) vulnerability of the community to coastal erosion, (6) inadequate public consultations with affected people, and (7) breach of the AfDB's environmental, social, and human rights standards, especially due to the lack of a Resettlement Action Plan. The Bank stated that the problems needed to be mitigated before the plant begins operating at the end of 2017.
In February 2019 the AfDB announced that the board of directors had "approved the recommendations of the Independent Review Mechanism to bring the Sendou coal-fired power plant project in Senegal into compliance with Bank policies and procedures. The compliance review report was approved with a mitigation action plan prepared by the Bank’s management. The Board’s decision will trigger the process of resolving the main concerns raised by the complainants that the Sendou power plant will have negative impacts and consequences on their environments and their lives. The IRM will monitor the implementation of the Action Plan and report progress to the Board annually.
Members of the fishing community have been fighting supposed development projects in the town of Bargny for over a decade, starting with the Sendou power station. A detailed report by Vice highlights the many ways in which the plant has affected the community and the community has tirelessly pushed back.
- Sponsor: Compagnie d’Electricité du Sénégal SA
- Parent company: Quantum Group (50+%), Nykomb Synergetics, Vattenfall Power Consult, Maytas, BHEL, BMCE Bank, Standard Bank of South Africa and Comptoir Balland-Brugneaux
- Location: Sendou, Bagny, Senegal
- Coordinates: 14.686988,-17.2139259 (exact)
- Status: Shelved
- Gross Capacity: 125 MW
- Type: Subcritical
- Start date:
- Coal Type:
- Coal Source: Imported via sea and unloaded at Dakar harbour, then transported by truck
- Source of financing: US$184.93 million in debt from African Development Bank (the lead arranger and senior lender), Banque Ouest Africaine de Developpement (BOAD), CBAO Senegal (a subsidiary of Attijariwafa Bank - Morocco) and the Netherlands Development Bank (FMO); US$73.71 million in equity from Nykomb Synergetics
Articles and resources
- "Sénégal : construction d'une centrale électrique à charbon de 125 MW à Sendou (Senegal: Construction of 125 MW coal-fired power plant in Sendou)" (in French). Sud Online. 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-14.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
- "Senegal to build new 124 MW coal-fired power plant". Forbes. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- "Swedish National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises," OECD complaint, 29 April 2015
- "Preview of Sendou Coal-Fired Power Plant (125MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- "Senegal targets 70 pct increase in power capacity in 3 years," Reuters Africa, Nov 11, 2014
- Hannah Petersen and Peter Harrison, Senegal's Waterkeepers Lead a Sendoff for Coal-Fired Sendou," Waterkeeper Alliance Magazine, Fall 2016
- Amadou Oury Diallo, "Sénégal : la centrale de Sendou prête en 2017 ?" Jeune Afrique 23 September 2016
- "Coal power plant in Bargny, Senegal," EJ Atlas, updated November 2017
- "Senegal builds coal bridge to gas-fired power," Natural Gas Daily, Feb 23, 2018
- "Rapport Annuel Senelec 2018," Senelec, posted April 2020
- "Senegal: Board approves recommendations and mitigation action plan for Coal-Fired Power Plant Project", African Development Bank, February 1, 2019.
- "This Tiny Fishing Town Was Poisoned By a Coal Plant. The Government Is Trying to Replace it With a Mine," Vice, March 25, 2021
- "Senegal officially cancels its controversial Bargny Coal Plant," 350 Africa, December 10, 2019
- "Main subcontractor abandons Sendou power plant," Africa Intelligence, December 10, 2020
- "Sendou power plant goes into receivership," Africa Intelligence, April 28, 2021
- "Nykomb vann Build-Own-Operate budgivningen," Nykomb Synergetics, 2008-01-29, accessdate=2009-02-14
- Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, "AfDB Board approves coal plant project for electricity in Senegal," Ghana Business News, 21 April 2017
- "Recommendations for Senegal’s coal-fired project approved," ESI Africa, February 4, 2019