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Studies sought for micro hydro projects in Central African Republic

The United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) seeks to recruit a consultancy to prepare a feasibility study, a detailed preliminary design and technical documents for the development of micro hydropower plants at four sites to supply mini-grids in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Requests for Proposals from qualified consultants are invited by 12 June to undertake the studies and prepare the technical specifications necessary to launch tender for the development of the 600 kW Chute de Mbecko and the 550 kW Gbassem projects in Mbaïki and Boda, respectively, both in the prefecture of Lobaye, the 420 kW Gamboula station in Gamboula, in the prefecture of Mambéré Kadei, and 600 kW Baïdou in Bambari, in the prefecture of Ouaka.

The four projects, with a combined installed capacity of around 2 MW, are designed to provide affordable, sustainable and stable power to rural communities as part of the “Promotion of small hydropower plants to power mini-grids to ensure better access to modern energy services in the Central African Republic” programme, according to the tender notice published on 23 May.

The US$ 19.4 million programme was initiated in 2017 by the UNDP with the support of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), which has provided grant financing of $2.6m, and aims to assist the Government with improving electricity access to the population, which currently stands at 3.7 per cent nationally, and to help meet its international climate change commitments by reducing its carbon footprint. The use of biomass and fossil fuels, which currently account for 98 per cent of the country’s primary energy sources, have resulted in the energy sector becoming the third largest source of CO2 behind agriculture and forestry. In addition, the low availability of power and cost of importing fuel have driven up the cost of electricity generation. A project document was signed by the UNDP and the Government in June 2018 with the project team set up in July of last year.

The four sites were selected following preliminary identification and analysis studies in coordination with the Direction Générale de l’Energie and ACER, a national agency responsible for rural electrification, on the basis of their potential as well as their proximity to consumers and the importance of electrifying these localities, which host mining, forestry and agro-pastoral activities. The UNDP said it has mobilized financing to develop the four plants, each with an installed capacity of around 500 kW, to supply mini-grids in four villages, over a period of five years. Over the design lifetimes of 25 years, the plants are expected to generate average annual output of 14 535 MWh and reduce CO2 emissions by 327 250 tonnes. The project is also expected to create an investment framework that will provide confidence to communities, developers and investors in the technical and economic feasibility of hydropower-based mini-grids for rural electrification and local socio-economic development as an alternative solution to centralized grid-expansion schemes.

The full tender notice and accompanying bidding and technical documents are available on the UNDP’s website at: http://procurement-notices.undp.org

Interested bidders should send an email to registry.cf@undp.org if they intend to submit an RFP.

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