Finnish energy group Wartsila has signed
its frst asset management agreement for a
photovoltaic power plant.
It will assume full responsibility for the
operation and maintenance of the Essakane
plant in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.
The plant shares a control system with
a thermal power plant which runs on 11 of
Wartsila’s 32 engines.
The seven-year deal includes the daily
operation of the plant; preventive, scheduled
and corrective maintenance; and cleaning
of the modules as well as co-ordination of
operations with the thermal plant which
shares the same control system.
Wartsila said its task “is to optimize the
production of the PV plant and make sure
that the thermal plant delivers effective,
effcient and stable power with unsurpassed
performance. In parallel, the thermal plant
retains a suffcient number of engines in stand-
by mode to cover potential fuctuations in the
PV solar energy production.”
The company added that maximizing the
PV plant’s production would in turn mean
that less heavy fuel oil is needed for the
thermal plant, “reducing both fuel costs and
The solar plant is owned by Essakane Solar
SAS, part of EREN Renewable Energy (EREN
RE), which develops, builds, fnances, invests in
and operates on long-term power projects in
countries where renewable energy represents
an economically viable solution to growing
EREN RE has a portfolio of 650 MW of
renewable energy assets in operation and
under construction, and over 1500 MW of
assets in development.
“This project represents a breakthrough
in the industry,” said EREN RE Africa Business
Development vice-president Christophe
Fleurence, who added that hybrid solar
PV engine solutions allow energy-intensive
industries to enter an era of more climate-friendly operations, to improve business and to
increase resilience to oil price variation.
The local operations of the plant in Burkina
Faso are remotely supported by Wartsila
Expertise Centres, which continuously monitor
the plant parameters and provide alerts to
potential problem situations that may arise in
the day-to-day operation of the facility.
Serge Begue, vice-president for South
Europe & Africa at Wartsila Services, said the
deal was “signifcant to in many ways. It is
our very frst operation and maintenance
agreement for a solar plant, beginning an
entirely new chapter in the story of Wartsila.
In co-ordinating production of the two
power plants, we will be able to combine
our strong background in engine-based
power production with our solar offering.
We look forward to many years of successful
cooperation with EREN RE.”
Last month the World Bank approved
an $80 million credit to Burkina Faso for its
Electricity Sector Support Project. This fnancing
will be used to incorporate low-cost solar
resources into Burkina Faso’s energy mix and
improve its distribution network.
It will also help electricity sector operators
build their capacity and provide transactional
advice to promote the development of
private sector projects for independent power
“With this additional fnancing, Burkina
Faso will be able to access diversifed energy
sources such as solar, at a low cost,” said
Cheick Kanté, World Bank Manager for Burkina
Faso.“The World Bank stands ready to help the
government, which aims to cover 100 per cent
of electricity needs in urban areas and 40 per
cent in rural areas, by providing reliable and
affordable electricity by 2025.”
Alexis Madelain, World Bank task team
leader, said that to achieve “this ambitious
objective, the main challenges are to step
up production capacities in order to reduce
electricity shortages and meet the growing
demand for energy services, while ensuring
the safety and reliability of the supply of
MAN Diesel & Turbo has commissioned eight
of its heavy fuel oil engines in the largest
thermal power plant in Nicaragua.
The new Planta MAN 140 plant is in Los
Brasiles and is operated by Alba Generación.
MAN Diesel engineered and delivered the
engines and equipment, steel structure,
piping and electrics for the plant.
With a generation capacity of 140 MW,
Planta MAN 140 accounts for around 12 per
cent of Nicaragua’s total capacity. It replaces
older and less effcient diesel power plants
and balances fuctuations in the generation
of electricity from renewables. Nicaragua
has an ambitious target to produce
90 per cent of electrical power from
renewables by 2020. Renewable sources,
primarily wind and hydropower, already
account for 57 per cent of the country’s
electricity demand. However, wind levels are
subject to considerable fuctuation.
“Engine power plants are ideal as a
backup for renewable energies,” said Thorsten
Dradrach, head of sales for power plants on
the American continent at MAN Diesel & Turbo.
“Not only can the engines be started up and
reach full load in three to fve minutes, they
also operate effciently at partial load. In the
event of low wind levels or even no wind at all,
our engines generate energy reliably and in a
highly fexible manner in order to compensate
for fuctuations in the power network.”
Transporting the engines 156 km from the
port of Corinto to Los Brasiles was a logistical
challenge. At temperatures of up to 40°C and
under increased volcanic activity, each of the
eight 320-tonne engines had to cross more
than 60 bridges, many of which frst had to be
bridged with fy-over ramps.
Wartsila wins landmark African solar deal
MAN Diesel in engine milestone at Nicaragua’s biggest thermal plant