Utility-scale renewable energy project developer Lekela today announced that it has successfully reached financial close on its Taiba N’Diaye wind power project in Senegal.
Construction will begin shortly on the west African country’s first utility-scale wind farm – delivering up to 158.7MW of clean, reliable, and competitively-priced energy to the rapidly expanding local grid.
Once the project is fully operational, in less than two years’ time, it will provide over 450,000MWh of energy per year for over two million people, said a company statement.
Situated 70km north of Dakar, the project, which will operate under the name Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye, will consist of 46 Vestas wind turbines, each able to produce 3.45MW.
It forms a critical component of the Government of Senegal’s strategy to increase clean electricity production, diversify the country’s energy mix, and ensure affordability. The project is anticipated to save over 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emission into the atmosphere per year.
Financing has been provided by OPIC, the US government’s development finance institution and EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency.
MIGA, the international financial institution provided political risk insurance, and Power Africa also supported the project’s development.
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Financial close delivers social engagement too
As part of Lekela’s strategy to create long-term value for the communities in which it operates, an extensive social investment programme in Taiba N’Diaye has begun. The project is expected to contribute up to $20 million to the local community over the life of the wind farm.
The core focus of this programme is to create sustainable livelihoods for communities by improving agriculture and providing vocational training opportunities for youth.
Initiatives to boost the local region’s mango economy and to increase IT resources in schools are already underway, with more programmes in the pipeline.
During peak construction, up to 400 employment opportunities will be created, developing important skills and knowledge in the local community and enabling improved employment prospects.
Chris Ford, chief operating officer at Lekela said, “This is a major milestone for Senegal, and for Lekela. As the first utility-scale wind power project in the country, Taiba N’Diaye forms a critical component of Senegal’s clean energy strategy.
“The project will create an impact that lasts for generations. We have many people to thank in getting to this point, not least the communities, partners and stakeholders who we’ve worked closely with in recent months.
“Taiba N’Diaye is just one of several Lekela projects currently in operation, construction or development. At present, the company’s pipeline consists of over 1,300 megawatts across projects in Egypt, Ghana and South Africa, as well as Senegal.”
Chris Antonopoulos, chief executive officer at Lekela added, “Taiba N’Diaye is the latest milestone in our plan to offer best-in-class delivery of clean energy projects across Africa.
“The demand for competitively-priced clean power is growing daily across the continent. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are quick to build and use natural resources that are abundant in many African countries, rather than relying on importing costly fossil fuels.
“The challenge is bringing together the technical, financial and development expertise required to turn these opportunities into reality. Lekela has the right blend of skills and experience to offer best-in class delivery of clean energy projects like this. As today’s milestone demonstrates, getting the mix right can generate lasting benefits for communities and governments.”