In order to relieve households and businesses in the northern regions of Cameroon, which have been experiencing unprecedented power cuts for several months, due to the drop in the water level in the Lagdo dam, the government and the electrician Eneo are refining a power plant project. modular and mobile emergency solar panels. The information is contained in an official statement made public on May 5, 2021, by the concessionaire of the public electricity service in the country.
These infrastructures, planned to deliver 30 MW in total, will be installed in the cities of Maroua, in the Far North, and Guider, in the North region, according to the aforementioned press release. But, in a letter sent on April 16, 2021 to the director general of Eneo, Éric Mansuy, the Minister of Water and Energy, Gaston Eloundou Essomba, also cites the city of Kousseri (Far North) among the beneficiaries. of this project. The aforementioned correspondence is moreover only a reminder from Minister Eloundou Essomba, for the rapid implementation of this project validated by his services since January 2021.
“As part of the search for the most appropriate solutions to curb the electrical energy deficit in the North interconnected network (RIN), I had given my agreement to the company Scatec, by my correspondence of January 11, 2021, to the effect of initiating and closing urgently with your company, commercial and technical discussions with a view to the installation and commissioning of emergency modular and mobile solar power plants with a total capacity of 30 MW in the cities of Maroua, Guider and Kousseri ”, recalls Minister Eloundou Essomba to the CEO of Eneo.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the operation of the said power stations was to be effective from March 2021. That is to say around the same time as the effective commissioning of the 20 MW of thermal power from the power station. ‘Ahala, transferred to Garoua and Ngaoundéré, with unsustainable fuel costs (additional 3 billion FCFA each month).
But, due to contingencies in particular technical, Eneo plans instead to install these mobile solar power plants before the end of 2021. “Eneo’s engineers are urgently studying the technical feasibility of these installations, in order to inject the most reliable and sustainable energy possible, ”says the electricity company.
“It’s an interesting project. But, we have to be careful for two reasons. First of all, it is a new technique in Cameroon. And solar energy is a bit special. Even if in the North there is a lot of sun, solar is by definition a variable energy. We need to be reassured that the amount of energy that will be injected from these modular plants will be stable, as demanded by both industrial and residential customers. So there are technical aspects that need to be checked. Then, faced with this spontaneous offer, we are still required to make consultations, to ensure that there are no alternative offers, “blows a source to Eneo very familiar with the matter.
In any case, according to our sources, the CEO of Eneo had until April 24, 2021 to indicate to the Minister of Water and Energy, the follow-up reserved for this project, in which the government now seems to see a panacea. to resolve, in the short and medium term, the energy deficit in the northern regions of Cameroon.
Indeed, underlines Minister Eloundou Essomba in his correspondence of April 16, 2021 to the CEO of Eneo, the rental of these modular and mobile solar power plants (the cost is not revealed), for a period of 4 years (2021-2024 ), as planned by the government, should reduce the current load shedding in the northern part of the country by 98%, and lower by 5 billion FCFA over the first nine months of operation, the cost of fuels used to run thermal power plants. in this part of Cameroon.
As a reminder, another 35 MW solar energy project in the three northern regions, completely mature and more sustainable, has been lying in the drawers of the public administration for almost 4 years. “Eneo has already informed both the government and the partners concerned (by this project, Editor’s note), the importance of seeing the discussions (…) be completed quickly by the granting of various license titles and other contractual agreements remaining to be conclude between the State, the partners and the donors ”, confided the general management of Eneo.