West Africa’s first major wind farm opens in Senegal in a push for renewables

West Africa’s first large-scale wind farm, which officially opened in Senegal last month, will supply nearly a sixth of the country’s power when it reaches full capacity later this year.

Senegal will get 30% of its energy from renewable sources as a result of the 158 megawatt wind farm located in the rural area of Taiba N’Diaye.

The wind farm, known as Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye (PETN), is Senegal’s first utility-scale wind energy project and aligns with the Government of Senegal’s strategy of increasing clean electricity production and diversifying Senegal’s energy mix.

The project is also expected to help reduce the cost of electricity generation in Senegal, which has one of the highest generation costs in Sub-Saharan Africa. PETN will be one of the lowest cost producers of electricity in Senegal.

In Taiba N’Diaye, 46 giant wind turbines rise over scrubland about 90 km (56 miles) from the seaside capital. One-third are currently operating, and the rest are due to come online by June.

The wind farm was built by British renewable power company Lekela, which also has wind farms in South Africa and Egypt and an upcoming one in Ghana.

According to Lekela, PETN is developing several socio-economic projects in the Taiba N’Diaye area, focused on creating sustainable livelihoods. They include making improvements to local agriculture, providing vocational training and opportunities for young members of the community and improving local infrastructure.

Massaer Cisse, General Manager for Senegal at Lekela said: “Providing power is just the start. With every project we build, we go beyond energy, investing in our local communities to build a lasting, positive impact. We’re here for 20 years and we want to help the Taiba community grow. We’ve already constructed two new marketplaces and recently we ran a four-month electrical training course for twelve young adults in the community.”

PETN will provide enough electricity for 2 million people and prevent the emission of 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, according to the national electricity company, Senelec.

Papa Mademba Biteye, director-general of Senelec, said: “The energy mix we have today allows us to move past our dependence on petrol.”

Wind farms are not as common in sub-Saharan Africa compared with solar plants, largely due to the fact that sunshine is especially plentiful in the region.

Senegal’s first solar plant came online three years ago, and the country has since built several more.

Image Source: PETN

PETN

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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