250 MW wind farm reaches financial close
Lekela, the joint venture between Mainstream and Actis, has successfully reached financial close on its first wind project in Egypt, West Bakr Wind.
Construction will shortly begin, delivering 250 MW of clean, reliable power at a highly competitive price. Once the project is fully operational in 2021, it will produce more than 1,000 GWh per year and power more than 350,000 homes.
Located by the Gulf of Suez, 30 kilometres northwest of Ras Ghareb, West Bakr Wind is part of the Egyptian Government’s Build, Own, Operate (BOO) scheme. It will increase the country’s wind energy capacity by 14%, as it strives to meet its target of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. The project will also save more than 550,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
West Bakr joins Lekela’s portfolio of wind projects across Senegal, Ghana and South Africa. In total, more than 1,000MW is now in operation or construction.
Chris Antonopoulos, Chief Executive Officer at Lekela, said: “This is a major milestone, not just for Lekela and its partners, but also for Egypt and its clean energy strategy. We are proud to play a part in supporting the diversification of Egypt’s generation capacity by delivering best-in-class clean energy projects.
“As our first project in Egypt, we have enjoyed working closely with partners and stakeholders, including the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), to get to this point. We see great opportunity with wind in Egypt, and we look forward to working in the country for years to come.”
As part of Lekela’s strategy to create long-term value for the communities in which it operates, the project has developed a Community Investment Plan focusing on enterprise, education and environment initiatives.
Local employment opportunities will be created alongside skills development and training to improve future employment prospects. During peak construction, the project will employ up to 550 people.
West Bakr Wind is on an important bird migration path, so Lekela is working closely with authorities to ensure that wildlife is protected. The company is participating in a “shut down on demand” programme, meaning that when birds are detected the turbines are able to be stopped. Lekela has also signed a protocol with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and its Migratory Soaring Birds project to contribute towards the funding and implementation of the Migratory Birds Monitoring training programme.
As a long-term owner-operator, Lekela has a growing team in Egypt that will be responsible for taking this project, as well as other future ones in the country, from construction into operation.
Chris Antonopoulos added: “As a long-term operator with a long-term outlook, we are focussed on delivering lasting impact. It is not enough to just invest money, which is why we focus on creating generation-spanning benefits for local communities. West Bakr Wind is the latest milestone in our plan to achieve this.”
Eng. Sabah Mashaly, Chairman of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, commented: “This agreement is an important step and an integral part of our ambitious new and renewable energy strategy - to reach 20% of our energy capacity from Renewable Energy by 2022. This also comes within the framework of the legislation provided by NREA, side-by-side with all the involved authorities, to facilitate the work of all investors in the energy sector.”
The Power Purchase Agreement, Network Connection Contract with EETC and Usufruct Agreement were all signed in February 2019, shortly after the project received cabinet approval.
Financing has been provided by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US Government’s development finance institution, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will install 96 of their 2.625MW G114 turbines through a turnkey EPC contract, and will provide long term maintenance services through a 15-year Long Term Services Agreement.