The $30.9 million project funded by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) was inaugurated on Saturday at the Anse Royale substation. (Juliette Dine)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Residents and businesses in the south and west of Mahe, Seychelles’ main island, will now have a more reliable power source after the inauguration of a 33kV electricity transmission network.
The $30.9 million project funded by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) was inaugurated on Saturday at the Anse Royale substation.
Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan and the chief executive of the Saudi Fund for Development, Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, as well as a representative of BADEA were present at the ceremony.
The chief executive of the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), Joel Valmont, said that the project consists of eight modern day substations that have state-of-the-art technologies.
“These are linked by approximately 300km of 33kV cable, 40km of 11kV cable and countless number of accessories. The 33kV underground transmission network emanates from the Roche Caiman Power Station, through Providence along the east coast of Mahe all the way to Turtle Bay and branches out to Anse Boileau via Montagne Posee and from Turtle Bay to Anse Boileau via Anse Royale and Quatre Bornes,” he explained.
The new transmission network is interconnected via a sophisticated Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that allows PUC to remotely monitor, control, and operate specific features on the network.
This upgrade will enable PUC to meet the electricity demand for the next 20 years, inclusive of major hotel developments in the south, which previously could not be connected to the national grid.
The CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development said that this project will not only contribute to the improvement of the lives of the people of the south of Mahe but also contribute towards the achievement of the United National Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). The SDG7 calls for universal access to affordable, sustainable, and modern energy.
|This upgrade will enable PUC to meet the electricity demand for the next 20 years. (Juliette Dine) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Today’s inauguration reflects the Saudi Fund’s ongoing strong development cooperation to support Seychelles,” said Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad.
On the question of whether this investment will have an impact on the cost of electricity in Seychelles, Valmont said that the environment ministry and the Seychelles Energy Commission (SEC) are revising the regulation to have a regulatory period of four years.
“That is, every four years PUC will be given an opportunity to review its tariffs and realign itself with cost recovery and loans. We are still discussing the matter with the government and hopefully early 2024 we will be able to give more information on this plan,” said the CEO.
Over the past decade electricity demand in Seychelles has increased by an average of 3 percent annually, and with the increase PUC felt it necessary to invest in such a project in November 2017 with the aim to enhance the existing power infrastructure in the south and west of Mahe.
Before the implementation of the project, PUC had mostly overhead networks that were vulnerable to flying debris and external elements in the environment during adverse weather conditions.
|Valmont said that the project consists of eight modern day substations that have state-of-the-art technologies. (Juliette Dine) Photo License: CC-BY|
Valmont said that with the new project, outage incidents have reduced as most cables are underground and the time taken for patrolling the network and fault finding has reduced considerably.
However, PUC is still reminding people not to dig holes near or on the road without informing them first.
“If digging is done with an excavator without informing PUC, and the first layer where there is a sign indicating live cables underneath is broken then automatically that person would have caused damage to more than one circuit, and that will be a bigger problem. I would like to tell the public to inform PUC before digging any holes near the road. We shall come to inspect and advise them accordingly,” he said.
Going forward, Valmont said PUC intends to do the same for the north of Mahe.
“We have started investing in it. Soon we will engage in road work from the Central Police station all the way up to Serret Road. At present, we are finishing up the installation of cables on the Serret road to Beau-Vallon. We are doing it by stage using our own funds. In order to do it faster we will need more money, but we shall see how to accommodate for that in the next two to three years,” he added.