Bridgestone Associates, Ltd and Orion Energy (Mali), a subsidiary of Orion Energy, today finalized an agreement, under which Bridgestone Associates will take a lead role in the development and design of a 10MW power plant in the Republic of Mali. As part of the services to be provided under this agreement, Bridgestone Associates will work with Orion Energy on the finalization of the power sales agreement, a concession agreement with the Government of Mali, and the completion of project funding, design, procurement and construction. The plant is expected to be operational in late 2009.
The planned 10MW plant will provide power to the city of Mopti, the third largest city in Mali, a landlocked West African country on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Currently Mopti, which is isolated from Mali’s main high voltage grid system serving the capital Bamako, receives power from a small diesel-fired power station connected to the local distribution grid.
The planned Orion Energy plant will replace the existing power plant that has suffered from high costs and poor reliability. The new plant will use heavy fuel oil (HFO) to fuel large Caterpillar medium-speed, reciprocating engine generators. The HFO will be delivered by road tanker from refineries on the West African coast.
“This is a very interesting project in a remote and extremely poor part of the world,” said Martin Anderson, president of Bridgestone Associates. “Because of the remote location, there are no other fuel choices except oil,” continued Mr. Anderson. “While heavy fuel oil is not a fuel of choice anymore in most generation applications because of its emissions, the advantages of HFO in this application, with its lower cost and a much lower likelihood of theft, a common problem with diesel fuels, means this is the best fuel for this plant.”
“The Republic of Mali, like many countries in and around the Sahara Desert, has an abundant source of energy – the sun,” continued Mr. Anderson. “Unfortunately though, at the moment, there isn’t the grid infrastructure or financial capability to develop large scale solar projects in this area. In the future however, we plan to work with Orion Energy and others on development of solar projects as an alternative to oil fueled plants to provide the power needs of this region.”