West Africa’s largest hydropower dam opens in Cote d’Ivoire

soubre power station Cote d'Ivoire
The Soubre hydroelectric power station was built at a cost of $572 million.
West Africa’s largest hydropower dam has been inaugurated in Soubre, Cote d’Ivoire, in a move that further cements the country as a key supplier of electricity in the region.

The Soubre hydroelectric power station that was built by Sinohydro of China is 4.5 kilometres long and is strategically located at the Naoua Falls on the Sassandra River.

It has an installed capacity of 275 megawatts (MW), which will help raise Cote d’Ivoire’s power output while enhancing the country’s status as a principal power producer and supplier in West Africa.

“The government of Cote d’Ivoire is very satisfied with the quality and speed of the construction of the Soubre hydroelectric dam,” President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire said at the dam’s inauguration ceremony.

Teyssiaux Jean, an engineer with Tractebel Engineering, a French firm that was undertook quality supervision over Soubre’s construction said: “Soubre dam is of high quality and built within a shorter period than schedule.”

The Soubre hydroelectric power station project had failed to take off for several decades due lack of funds and it only moved forward in February 2013 after it obtained funding from China.

The project is estimated to have cost about $572 million, of which 85 per cent was funded by the Export-Import Bank of China with the government of Cote d’Ivoire meeting 15 per cent of the cost.

Cote d’Ivoire is seeking to double its power production to 4,000 MW by 2020 – a highly ambitious target.

“With Soubre dam, we’re on course to meet the target of 4,000 MW by 2020,” said Thierry Tanoh, energy minister of Cote d’Ivoire.

After Soubre project’s inauguration, a groundbreaking ceremony has been held at the same site for construction of the proposed 112 MW Gribo-Popoli project, a hydropower dam located 15 kilometres downstream of Soubre.

The project, whose cost is yet to be disclosed, is being undertaken by Sinohydro.