Paul Kunert has joined power project developer Joule Africa as chief operating officer.
Kunert will help build the company’s operational capability to manage the construction, operations and maintenance, and asset management of the 140-MW Bumbuna II hydropower project in Sierra Leone. He also will supervise the company’s pipeline of other projects under development, including the 485-MW Kpep hydro facility in Cameroon and a portfolio of run-of-river hydro projects in Chile.
Bumbuna II is an expansion of the 50-MW Bumbuna plant on the Seli River, which was commissioned in 2009.
According to a press release, Joule Africa will complete the environmental and social impact assessment for Bumbuna II in September, coinciding with the commencement of lender due diligence. Simultaneously, a revised EPC procurement has been launched, encompassing a value engineered design that reduced installed capacity from 202 MW while reducing forecast energy by only 1%.
Equity for the project will be provided by Joule Africa and its partner, AIIM. Financial close is being targeted for the second half of 2017.
Kunert has 17 years of experience in power project development in Africa, including positions with CDC, Actis and Globeleq, where he was head of business development for Africa.
Andrew Cavaghan, Chief Executive of Joule Africa, commented: “We are delighted that Paul has joined the team at this important inflexion point for Joule and the Bumbuna II project. His experience and track record in helping to build and operate both power projects and credible power platforms in Africa will aid us considerably in the next phase of our business as we gear up to deliver this important renewable project for Sierra Leone, and to develop the other projects in our pipeline.”
HydroWorld.com reported in March that Joule Africa bought out Endeavor Energy to gain 100% ownership of the Bumbuna II plant, then targeted to have a capacity of 202 MW.