Senegal’s Malicounda Thermal Plant Is Operational

The project will provide at least 956 GWh of power a year.

By Chriselle Moraes on
9th April 2023

The Malicounda power plant was officially inaugurated by Senegal's President Macky Sall on February 11, and is now fully operational.

Malicounda is a 130-megawatt combined cycle thermal power plant located in Mbour, 85 kilometres from Dakar. The new plant will initially run on fuel and will later be run on natural gas sourced from the adjacent Greater Tortue Ahmeyim field once that becomes available. It is expected to produce 956 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of power a year.

The plant was developed through a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) scheme which includes a 20-year guaranteed power purchase agreement (PPA) with Senelec, the state-owned utility. Electricity generated from the plant will be fed to the national grid network through an existing 225kV substation adjacent to the site.

The new Malicounda plant is expected to increase energy generating capacity by 17% in Senegal, and could result in a 3-7% drop in tariffs and a 1-3% rise in GDP. It will help satisfy baseload demand and integrate renewable power into the country’s energy mix. It will also produce higher output at higher efficiencies (up to 55%) with lower emissions than the current older open-cycle plants.

Matalec, the project’s Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor, chose Wärtsilä to deliver its energy efficient 130-megawatt Flexicycle power generation technology. The Malicounda power plant comprises seven 18V50 engines and a steam turbine.

Prior to the Matelec order, Wärtsilä is reported to have already had 450 megawatts of power generation equipment installed in Senegal.

“We are grateful to our partners for having entrusted us to deliver our cutting-edge Flexicycle technology for this very important project. We have a well-established footprint in Senegal, and it is extremely satisfying to see yet another emblematic power plant equipped with our technology now in full operation. We are confident that this high-efficiency plant will enable Senegal to reduce electricity production costs,” Marc Thiriet, Director of Africa at Wärtsilä Energy, said.

The Malicounda power plant is part of the government’s Plan Sénégal Emergent, which aims to strengthen the economy and provide electricity access to everyone by 2025. The project was one of the first public-private partnership (PPP) projects in West Africa. It involved the African Development Bank, Africa50, the Infrastructure Development Fund for Africa, and Senelec, Senegal’s national electricity utility company. 

Top Photo: Aerial view of the Malicounda power plant construction site (

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