Senegal Set to Commission its First Large Scale Wind Project of 158.7 MW

Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye (PETN), a partnership between the Senegalese National Electricity Corporation (Senelec) and Amsterdam-based Lekela, is Senegal’s first large scale wind energy project. This is a critical part of the government’s “Plan Senegal Emergent,” an economic accelerator program.

PETN is expected to begin transmitting power to the grid later this year and will provide over 450,000 MWh of energy annually, a 15% increase in generation capacity for Senegal and will be the provision of power for over 2 million people.

Conceived as an idea in 2007, PETN will provide 158.7 MW of clean, reliable power to Senegal’s electricity grid. The 200 billion CFA franc ($342 million) farm will be roughly half financed by Lekela, and the other half will be split between U.S.-based Overseas Private Investment Corp and Danish export credit company EKF.

The project is one of several being built by Lekela, a renewable energy company founded in 2015 and specializing in delivering utility-scale renewable energy to communities in Ghana South Africa and Egypt. The company has announced the delivery of Vestas wind turbine components into Port Autonome de Dakar for the development of these projects.

The construction for the 158.7 MW wind farm began in December 2018. PETN has been designed to generate electricity for at least 20 years through its 46 wind turbines, with an investment of up to $20 million in wider socio-economic projects for Taiba N’Diaye, according to a press statement.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall is keen to make Senegal a leader in renewables in Africa, with a 30% target for clean energy in the coming years, of which this project will provide half, and another 30 MW solar project is underway.

On the scale of benefits to the environment, the PETN project is expected to prevent 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, informed Lekela’s Senegal head, Massaer Cisse.

Built near the Taiba N’Diaye community, the wind farm is expected to create up to 400 direct and indirect opportunities for the employment during the peak of its construction phase, the release informed.

Once constructed, the wind farm will consist of 46 Vestas wind turbines that can produce 3.45 MW each. The project will utilize a 117m tubular steel tower and have a blade length of 61.7m, giving a large swept area of 12,469m2, allowing the wind turbines to maximize the amount of energy captured from the wind.

PETN is deploying a broader socio-economic program in the Taiba N’Diaye area creating sustainable livelihoods in the local community, like improvement of local agriculture, vocational training opportunities, refurbishing or building local infrastructure. These are part of a 20-year program that will invest up to $20 million over the lifetime of the wind farm, the release informed.

Wind energy projects are not new to Senegal, for a country with huge underutilized renewable energy resources both in solar and wind energy.  Earlier, American Capital Energy and Infrastructure (ACEI) announced a commitment to invest in Senegal’s first industrial-scale wind power project and the largest wind farm planned in West Africa.

In 2018, nearly 51.3 GW of new wind energy projects were installed globally, 4% less than the previous year, says Global Wind Report 2018. In the last five years, wind installations have been above the 50 GW mark every year, and cumulative installations reached 591 GW at the end of 2018, Mercom had reported earlier.

Recently, the  World Bank approved an International Development Association (IDA) fund of $150 million and another $74.7 million contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund to help increase off-grid electricity access for people in West Africa and Sahel regions. The $224.7 million in funding will help the West African Development Bank and ECOWAS’ Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to expand off-grid solar access to electricity for populations in 19 countries in West Africa and the Sahel region, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.