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The electrification rate in the island of Santiago (52%) is below the national average of 63%. It varies from 26% in São Miguel to 70% in Praia. To reduce disparities in national electrification, and on the island of Santiago, the government has decided to develop a single electricity production and transportation network in Praia (Palmarejo) as a centralized production center. The project includes the extension of the Palmarejo electrical central components, the construction of a high tension (HT) line, the construction of substations and MV and LV lines, as well as the construction of electrical connections and project management. The project's objective is to improve the quality of electricity supply on the island of Santiago by creating conditions for new connections, improved service quality in large municipalities in the north of the island and help cut down on electricity costs.
Process and expected impact: The centralization of power generation on the island of Santiago will reduce production costs and operational restrictions, as well as provide better quality of service. The construction of power lines will transport electricity in rural areas. The elimination of small power plants and the use of heavy oil as fuel, instead of diesel, will reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with electricity production. The negative impact of the expansion of the Palmarejo power plant and the construction of power lines is limited. The project will not cause population displacement and will not affect the cultural heritage or protected areas. The project will have a major economic and social impact on the area’s population, estimated at 27,000 inhabitants, 6% of the country’s total population. The electrification rate in the project area is expected to increase from 29 to 50%.
Testimonial: Pedro Alcântara Silva, Project Implementation Unit Coordinator of the Ministry of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness
"The Santiago Production Capacity and Distribution Network Strengthening Project is key to the country and the island of Santiago. It aims at strengthening the capacity of the Palmarejo power plant. We will increase production capacity by installing and expanding the power plant. Two power groups of 10 mega watts will be installed. For the first time, high voltage energy will be taken to Calheta de São Miguel and from there Assomada, Tarrafal, Pedra Badejo will be connected. By centralizing the production in the Island of Santiago, we will be able to use heavy oil, which is a much cheaper fuel than diesel. This will enable us close all municipal power plants that currently work on diesel. This project will, therefore, save money, improve the power plant’s efficiency, possibly reduce production costs and eventually reduce the electricity tariff at Santiago. We hope that once implemented, the project will create the necessary conditions for the introduction of rural energy in the country. The country has considerable wind potential, which can be developed, allowing us to use less petroleum products. Currently, we have a fragmented system, with small plants working on diesel, at high costs, and not always efficient. Another component of the project which is extremely important is household connections, which will increase the consumer connection rate, especially on the periphery of urban centers."