Senegal’s power utility has started selling its surplus to neighboring countries after years of energy shortages damped economic growth and caused violent protests last year.
“Once Senegal’s electricity needs are met, what’s left is available to sell to Mali and Mauritania,” Mamadou Diallo, director of communications at state-owned Societe National d’Electricite de Senegal, known as Senelec, said by phone on Oct. 29 from the capital, Dakar.
Senelec rehabilitated its machinery and generators under a plan started by the administration of President Abdoulaye Wade, boosting output by 70 megawatts, Diallo said. Macky Sall, who defeated Wade in a March election, said in July the government would spend 120 billion CFA francs ($236 million) on subsidies to keep the price of power from Senelec down.
In June 2011, power cuts, some of which lasted as long as 20 hours, sparked violent riots in Dakar and other towns as protesters burned Senelec offices and vehicles. Growth is expected to reach 4.3 percent in 2013 from 3.7 percent this year because of the development of projects in electricity, roads and mining, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement on its website dated Sept. 20.
Energy in Senegal is produced largely by burning imported diesel. Of the 516 megawatts of electricity available on Oct. 29, there was a surplus of 138 megawatts in the morning and 126 megawatts in the evening, Diallo said.
A 31 billion-franc electricity grid for Dakar and its suburbs is being constructed by China Machinery Engineering Corp., according to a document e-mailed by the company on Oct. 29.
The grid includes a 22-kilometer (14-mile) subterranean cable and a 31-kilometer fiber-optic line, which will be able to carry 100 megawatts, according to China Machinery Engineering. Four power plants in Dakar and Kaolack in the south, producing 17 megawatts each, will start by the end of the year, Diallo said.
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