Senegal is on the verge of taking the big, unprecedented, step into the renewable energy sector in Africa. Currently underway is the €340 million (£291 million) located in Taliba N’diaye.
The wind farm is planned to have 46 wind turbines, with nearly all of them being completed already means that the first totally renewable energy has started being produced and is starting to power some of the capital city of Dakar.
The general manager for Lekela Power, who are managing the farm, Massaer Cisse stated that the first megawatts of renewable energy are now entering into the Senegalese national grid. This is giving the nation its first experience of clean, renewable wind power.
This is seen as a major step forward during this exciting time and brings Senegal closer to reaching their goal of generating reliable secure power for the whole country.
The windfarm which is situated 60 miles north of the capital, Dakar, is already generating 50 megawatts of power. This is nearly a third of the planned total generating capacity of 158 megawatts which will be added to the grid once the substations and turbines at the plant are complete.
The finished plant will increase the current power supplied in Senegal by 15% in addition to the 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide that will be saved from entering the atmosphere each year due to the renewable nature of wind turbines.
It is believed that the poor reliability and access to electricity in African nations is one of the leading causes of the high rates of unemployment and low manufacturing output. The power shortages more often than not will stall heavy machinery therefore there are high levels of risk and uncertainty for businesses in investing in construction equipment such as electric forklifts.
It is estimated that around 500 million people in Africa do not have a secure or reliable connection to electricity. This can lead to reduced growth in a nation’s economy. For example, Nigeria, also located in West Africa, is predicted to be losing up to 5% of its GDP each year because of power shortages and blackouts. Blackouts and shortages also mean that people will then turn to using portable backup generators. These generators are often powered by a lower quality diesel fuel which in turn leads to a reduction in the already poor air quality because of the fumes that they emit.
Due to the success of the wind farm in Senegal, Lekela Power has now received financial investments worth £250 million for a wind project located in the Gulf of Suez producing 250 megawatts of power. The West Bakr wind project is planned to be operating at full capacity by 2021.
Egypt has a ‘Build, own, operate’ project which aims to establish an Egyptian managed energy sector infrastructure which produce 20% renewable energy by 2022.
One downfall of having a wind turbine plant situated in the Gulf Of Suez is that a lot of migrating birds use it to migrate and therefore are put at risk by the turbine blades. Lekela Power have planned for the plant to be more bird friendly by introducing a programme in which the plant can be shut down on demand.
Lekela also plan on intruding a training program which will monitor the migrating birds, making sure that the birds survive their journeys through the wind turbines.
The Egyptian plant is planned to be much bigger than the one in Senegal. In being bigger it is hoped that the plant will save 550,000 tons of carbon dioxide being emitted each year.