President marks wind farm milestone in Senegal clean energy drive
West Africa’s first utility scale wind farm, developed by our Africa joint venture Lekela Power, was officially inaugurated by the President of Senegal this week.
His Excellency Macky Sall toured Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye (PETN) just seven months after the first of its 46 planned turbines were erected on the site, some 90km northeast of the capital Dakar.
The first phase of the project entered operation last December, with 16 turbine towers – among the tallest in the world standing at 180 metres, the equivalent of a 60-storey building - introducing 50 MW of clean energy capacity to the national grid.
That will double with completion of the second phase of construction, and eventually rise to 158.7MW when PETN is fully operational later this year.
Pape Mademba Bitèye, Chief Executive of Senelec, Senegal's national electricity company, said: "This plant illustrates the benefits that the State of Senegal can derive from intelligent public-private partnerships.
"The partnership between the State, local authorities and Lekela is proving to be fruitful for the country.
"The project will provide 15% additional energy capacity in the near future, representing half of the renewable energy available in Senegal. PETN will reduce the country's dependence on oil and its fluctuating costs."
Describing Monday’s inauguration ceremony as a "very special moment" for his team, Lekela Chief Executive Chris Antonopoulos said: "In record time, together with all our partners and collaborators, we have completed an ambitious project that places Senegal at the forefront of countries committed to the development of renewable energy."
"Young people have been trained in new trades, a 20-year local social investment programme has been put in place and many achievements have already been made. It is a great source of pride to have participated in such a project for my country."
In recent months, 34 km of road track has been constructed, allowing farmers to transport their produce much more easily. In addition, two markets, a pilot farm and a fully equipped IT centre connected to the internet at the Taïba Ndiaye High school have been built. A library and a municipal stadium have also been refurbished as part of the programme.