Sierra Leone: Bumbuna Hydro II

Scaling up access to renewable baseload power


Sierra Leone has an electrification rate of just 26.2%, one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. The Government of Sierra Leone’s (GoSL) National Renewable Energy Action Plan recognises the potential of the country’s rivers to generate baseload hydropower as part of wider efforts to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels.  Following the impact of the Ebola virus on Sierra Leone’s people and economy, the President’s Recovery Priorities include access to energy.

An existing, government owned, hydropower facility was commissioned in Bumbuna in 2009. Generating 50MW of hydropower, the facility supplies electricity to Freetown and Kilkenny. However, supply is not available in the dry season and customers rely on polluting diesel generators to provide power for their homes and businesses.


Under development
US$6 million
2020 -

Located on the Upper Seli River, 230km north east of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, the Bumbuna Hydro II project will provide an additional 145MW of capacity. By adding new generation capacity to the existing Bumbuna dam (92MW) and building a new dam and generation at Yiben (53MW), 35km upstream of the existing Bumbuna I facility, the project will enable delivery of significant additional power to the national grid but more importantly increase the generation during the dry season thanks to the seasonal storage capability of Yiben. The initiative will provide approximately 1 TWh (1 million MWh) of reliable electricity to customers over the year.  Both the Bumbuna extension and Yiben will also be linked to the West Africa Power Pool via the recently constructed Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) transmission line.

This ambitious project is being delivered by experienced renewables developer, Blue International (formerly Joule Africa) through its local project company, Seli Hydropower. PIDG Technical Assistance (PIDG TA) has supported Bumbuna Hydro II’s early development via returnable and technical assistance grants to fund an embedded advisor to the GoSL.  The involvement of PIDG company, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) has also been central to enabling the project to progress to this stage. Bumbuna Hydro II is now well developed with a ratified Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement in place. InfraCo Africa’s involvement, alongside that of a range of private sector and development finance institutional investors, is designed to enable this large-scale project to complete the “last mile.” The project is expected to reach commercial operations in 2027.

It is anticipated that the project will generate substantial levels of local employment throughout the anticipated 49 month construction period. Bumbuna Hydro II will also deliver long term operational and management jobs. Consumers will benefit from increased reliability of power and will also see cost savings via affordable tariffs and reduced reliance on expensive diesel back-up generation.

Developed by Blue International with support from InfraCo Africa, DBSA, ElectriFI,  African Alpha and PIDG TA


Maytou Senesie

Creating a culture of integrity

Maytou Senesie is a Human Resources Consultant for Seli Hydropower which is developing the Bumbuna Hydro II project in Sierra Leone. She attended InfraCo Africa’s Business Integrity training.


James Harding

Challenging expectations

James Harding is Seli Hydropower’s General Manager, developing the Bumbuna Hydro II project in Sierra Leone. He attended InfraCo Africa’s Business Integrity training in early 2023.

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