Renewables developer Lekela announced last week that it had achieved financial close on its 158.7-MW Taiba N’Diaye wind project 70 km north of Dakar.
The wind farm will boost Senegal’s grid-connected capacity by 15% and will help prevent the frequent power cuts that have been plaguing the capital.
Lekela has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with state utility Senelec.
The project, which will operate under the name Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye, will consist of 46 Vestas wind turbines, each with 3.45 MW of capacity.
It will be the first utility-scale wind farm in the country and is expected to provide 450 million kWh per year.
Financing has been provided by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution (DFI) along with Danish Export Credit Agency EKF.
OPIC committed US$250 million in financing and US$70 million in reinsurance back in 2016, while last week EKF made a commitment for a 140 million euro (US$161 million) export loan with a tenor of 17 years.
Meanwhile, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has provided political risk insurance, while USAID’s Power Africa initiative also supported the project.
Construction will be carried out by Denmark’s Vestas and is expected to begin shortly. The project should be fully operational in less than two years, with Vestas also assuming maintenance of the wind farm for a 20-year period.
Upon completion, the project will reduce more than 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
The wind farm also highlights the Senegalese government’s efforts to diversify the nation’s energy mix as it seeks to expand its clean electricity production.
Taiba N’Diaye marks just one of several Lekela projects in operation, construction or development across the continent.
The company’s current pipeline consists of more than 1,300-MW with projects in Egypt, Ghana and South Africa in addition to Senegal.
African countries possess some of the best renewable energy sources on the globe, however green energy still makes up just 1% of the continent’s energy supply.