The Souapiti hydropower station is a 450MW hydroelectric facility developed with Chinese support on the Konkure River in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa. The project achieved full capacity with the commissioning of its fourth generating unit in March 2021.
Owned by the Government of Guinea, the Souapiti hydropower project was developed by the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC).
While the groundbreaking ceremony of the project was held in January 2015, the main civil construction works were started in April 2016.
The first two units of the plant were commissioned in November 2020, followed by the commissioning of the third unit in January 2021 and the grid connection of the fourth (last) unit in March 2021.
The Souapiti hydroelectric facility is expected to generate up to 2.016 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. Apart from meeting the power demand of the Republic of Guinea, the project is also intended to supply excess power to the neighbouring countries, including Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau through the West African power grid.
Location and site details
The Souapiti hydropower station is located approximately 140km away from the Conakry capital city in the western part of the Republic of Guinea.
The project lies in the middle reaches of the Konkure River, approximately 6km downstream of the 240MW Kaleta hydropower station.
Souapiti hydropower station make-up
The Souapiti hydropower station comprises a roller compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam and a ground powerhouse equipped with four vertical-axis Francis turbine generators of 112.5MW rated capacity each. Each turbine is designed to operate at a rated head of 87m.
The RCC gravity dam is 120m-high and has a crest elevation of approximately 215.5m, while the dam axis length is approximately 1,164m. The normal storage capacity of the dam is approximately 6.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) and the design water storage level is 210m.
The other mechanical component in the project includes 21 flat steel gates, 12 trash racks, two arc gates, six hydraulic hoists, two fixed hoists, one sewage gate crane, and a tailgate crane station.
A double trolley 160/50 tonnes (t) bridge crane was utilised for the lifting and installation operations during the project construction.
The electricity generated by the Souapiti hydropower station is fed into the grid through an 8.7km-long 225kV double-circuit power transmission line connecting the Kaileta Substation.
The Souapiti hydropower station was financed through a £911m ($1.1bn) credit loan facility from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China. The loan agreement was signed by the Guinean Government in September 2018.
China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), a subsidiary of CTCG, was awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract worth approximately £956m ($1.38bn) for the Souapiti hydropower project in January 2016.
Harbin Electric Group Motor Company manufactured and supplied the turbines and other hydroelectric units for the project.
Third Hydropower Bureau was subcontracted by CTCG for the civil engineering, grouting, electromechanical, and metal structures works in 2016, while Sailsors Automation Technology Company was subcontracted for the supply of automation components in September 2018.
Tractebel Engie was engaged to provide supervisory services for the project. It also assisted in the environmental and social impact study as well as the resettlement action plan.
Yellow River Research Institute was subtracted by CWE for the design and engineering services of the project.
Yingtai Group delivered nine 10kV voltage grade 1,600KW diesel generator sets for the project.
Milbank provided financial advisory services to the EXIM Bank of China for the loan facility to the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Guinea.
Nodalis updated the feasibility study and evaluated the technical and economic viability of the hydropower project.