Conversion of six Wärtsilä engines to dual-fuel will enable Senelec to provide highly flexible, fast-starting baseload power from Bel-Air plant for balancing the grid.
Conversion of six Wärtsilä engines to dual-fuel will enable Senelec to provide highly flexible, fast-starting baseload power from Bel-Air plant for balancing the grid.

A switch from heavy fuel oil to LNG at a 90 MW power station will mark the first ever gas plant conversion in Senegal.

The work will be carried out on the 90 MW Bel-Air plant in Dakar, owned by public utility Senelec.

“Our two main aims are to improve the plant’s environmental profile and lower the operating costs,” said Senelec managing director Papa Mademba Biteye. “At the same time, we are preparing the plant for the country’s future gas supply infrastructure.”

Senelec control room

The conversion will be delivered by Finnish energy technology company Wärtsilä, whose West Africa director Marc Thiriet said that “future-proofing the assets… is far more cost-effective than building a new plant”.

“It also facilitates the greater use of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, since the converted plant will be able to provide highly flexible, fast-starting baseload power for balancing the grid.”

The Bel-Air plant’s existing six Wärtsilä engines will be converted for dual-fuel capability. As well as Bel-Air, Senelec has three other plants running on the firm’s engines.

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Kelvin Ross is Editor-in-Chief of Enlit Europe and Power Engineering International. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has worked on regional, national and international newspapers, as well as trade magazines serving sectors including insurance, shipping, health and financial markets. He has covered the energy sector for more than 10 years. He helped establish Energy Live News in the UK before joining PEi and he has been ranked among the top 100 global influencers on Twitter for 'renewable energy' and 'smart grid' topics.