Cameroon commissions first turbine of Nachtigal dam

Cameroon commissions first turbine of Nachtigal dam

Cameroon has commissioned the first turbine of the Nachtigal hydroelectric scheme. The turbine was launched the presence of several members of the Cameroon government, including Water and Energy Minister Gaston Eloundou Essomba and Louis-Paul Motaze, his counterpart in charge of Finance.

The hydropower plant is located on the Sanaga River near the Nachtigal Falls, 65 kilometers away from the capital city of Cameroon. It is expected that Nachtigal will cover 30% of the country’s electricity demand, amounting to an annual output of nearly 3 TWh. With a capacity of 60 MW, this initial unit is poised to inject much-needed electricity into the national grid, benefiting various regions across the country.

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Energy security

According to Cameroon Ministry of Water and Energy the other six units of the Nachtigal hydroelectric power plant will be progressively commissioned to reach a total capacity of 420 MW by December 2024.The scheme represents a crucial step forward in Cameroon’s efforts to enhance energy security, stimulate economic development, and foster regional cooperation in the realm of electricity production and distribution.

The operation of the Nachtigal facility falls under the responsibility of the Nachtigal Hydro Power Company (NHPC), a special-purpose entity with diverse ownership, including Électricité de France (EDF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the State of Cameroon, Africa50, and STOA Infra & Energy. The substantial investment of 1.2 billion euros underscores the project’s scale and significance, comprising not only the dam itself but also associated infrastructure such as the feeder canal.

Minister Eloundou Essomba emphasized how the Nachtigal dam strengthens Cameroon’s electricity production capacity, addressing both industrial and household needs. Additionally, plans to export electricity to neighboring Chad by 2027 through the Cameroon-Chad Power Grid Interconnection Project demonstrate the potential for regional cooperation and economic benefits.