By Ahmed Fonike
Wednesday 14th December 2016 marked another milestone in the history of the Energy sector as a high delegation from the
Chinese Embassy alongside the Hunan Engineering Group symbolically handed over the long awaited Charlotte Mini Hydro Dam to
the Ministry of Energy in Freetown.
Speaking on behalf of the Coordinator of the Hunan Group of China, Zhang Sheng stated that The Sierra Leone and Chinese
Governments have made joint efforts to construct three mini hydropower dams in Sierra Leone, notably the Charlotte, Bankasoka
and the Makali hydropower dams. These projects are reliable as Hunan has a reputation to build on behalf of the Chinese people. In
Sierra Leone, he spoke of the local people with whom they had worked with throughout the construction of the Charlotte dam. He
said that this project would deepen the bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and China.
It could be recalled that the construction of the Charlotte Hydro Dam started in April 2012, by Hunan Group of China that is divided
into three components (Civil Work, Hydro-mechanical and Electromechanical works) with the primary objective to boost the energy
sector in the country. This handing over ceremony attracted the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng and team, senior
staff of the Ministry of Energy and representatives from EDSA, EGTC, Charlotte and the President Priority Recovery Team.
The Director of EDSA, Ing. Alhaji Timbo noted that apart from selling power to the needed customers, the project would help to
reduce technical losses. He said that his Utility would make good use of the asset.
In his own part, the Director General of EGTC, Ing Dennis Garvie said decentralizing generation is a step in the right direction. Each
generation facility means a lot to the main grid as they are interconnected. He ended that the hydro project is important as the
Chinese proverb says ‘water lifts objects’ and so the hydro has lifted up the energy sector.
The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng in his brief statement said that he could not say that the facilities are 100%
finished but the considerable work done with the T&D to follow is a laudable work. “Energy sector is very important in upgrading
the two countries’ relationship,” he affirmed. He continued that the Chinese Presidents talk a lot about Sierra Leone and China
relations, and so, he would do as much as possible to upkeep and improve the friendship of the two nations.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony, the Minister of Energy, Amb, Henry Macualey stated that this is the second time of meeting
within two months which according to him signifies the importance of the two friendly countries in the energy sector. With regards the
importance and complexity of the energy sector, he said that the more energy generation, the more demand by users as it is exponential
and practical meaning when energy is available, it is available and when it is not available, it is obvious that it is not. EDSA he stated is just
two years old and it is not expected to make a huge profit now. He furthered that Sierra Leone and China undertook these three projects
in order to boost the energy sector.  He informed all present that he had been a lucky minister to commission the three hydropower dams
that started in his absence since 2012. Receiving the certificates of the Charlotte Dam, he thanked and appreciated the Chinse
government for their contribution to the energy sector in Sierra Leone.
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