The construction of the Nachtigal hydroelectric dam in the Central Region of Cameroon reached a decisive stage on September 26th 2022 as sanaga river diversion reinforces promise to inject first MW in 2023.
According to Nachtigal Hydro Power Company (NHPC), the project company, the temporary diversion of the Sanaga River, on which this 420 MW power infrastructure, the largest ever built in the country, is being built, took place on that day.
“With the arrival of the rainy season, it was important to carry out this important operation, to allow the continuation of the work on the Nachtigal site, which has been completed to date at 70%“, says the project company in its latest newsletter. The construction of the dam is organised in 5 sections, from the left bank to the right bank. The sections already built or under construction are phases 1, 2 and 4 (…) To build the last two phases, the protective enclosure of phase 1 must be opened to allow the Sanaga River to pass through the 6 passes already built.
Experts say the success of this operation bodes well for the respect of the delivery schedule of the construction site, which foresees the injection of the first megawatts into the Southern Interconnected Network (RIS) as of July 2023. Since the transmission line has already been delivered, six months ahead of the original construction schedule. All 420 megawatts are expected to be available in the RIS, which supplies six of Cameroon’s 10 regions, in the third quarter of 2024.
By that time, the Nachtigal hydroelectric dam alone will have contributed to increasing Cameroon’s current production capacity by 30% in one go. This hydroelectric development is presented as “the most important public-private partnership in Africa in the field of energy”.
This energy infrastructure is eagerly awaited in Cameroon, insofar as it will enable the supply of electricity to be balanced with an ever-increasing demand. Better still, the Nachtigal dam will boost the contribution of hydroelectricity to the country’s energy mix, with the corollary of substantial savings on the purchase of fuel to run the back-up thermal power stations scattered across the country.