Lake Turkana
Pic credit: archiexpo.com
Djibouti to construct its first wind power project with an expected 60MW generation capacity once it reaches commercial operation. Pic credit: archiexpo.com

In East Africa, the Djiboutian minister of energy, Ali Mahmoud Yacoub and Chen Shuyu, vice president of the mechanical and electrical equipment manufacturer, Chinese group Shanghai Electric, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a 60MW wind power project in Djibouti.

In addition to this being the first wind power project in the East African country, it is in line with country’s long term strategy of becoming Africa’s first country that is completely powered through renewable energy.

Wind power

The wind project will be constructed in two parts with 30MW in each including the construction of two 230KV power lines in northern Djibouti.

According to the ministry of energy Djibouti has significant wind potential with the ability to generate an estimated 5,000kWh annually. High potential sites include Ghoubet, Assal, Gali Maaba and Bada Wein. The Djibouti Electricity Authority was responsible for the feasibility and data collection studies.

The minister of energy said: “Djibouti sits at the crossroads of one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, linking Europe, the Far East, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf. It is the natural gateway to Africa and provides sea, air, rail and road linkages for East Africa.

“Its commercial activities revolve around its liberal business environment, regional free trade access and strategic location as a Red Sea transit point. Energy demands are high and Djibouti needs cheaper power to fund the expansion of its ports, which have seen a surge in movement of cargo particularly servicing landlocked neighbor, Ethiopia.

“Lower energy costs will also attract more investors to the country. This project is part of the solution and supports Djibouti’s new status as a commercial and regional economic hub in Africa.”

He added: "It is also part of our national strategy to achieve energy independence in Djibouti, based on clean, permanent, cheap and above all accessible energy throughout the country.”

Developing renewable power

Djibouti has set the target of becoming full reliant on renewable power for all its energy needs within the next decade, the energy ministry highlighted in a statement. Renewable projects including wind, geothermal, solar, and wave energy are all in the pipeline.

With geothermal capacities regarded as one of the highest in the world, government plans to drill four exploratory wells within the next year. The wells will be located near the caldera at Asal-Fiale geothermal field.

Last year, the Japan International Cooperation Agency completed a survey of the 13 potential geothermal sites of which Hanle-Garabbayis, North Goubet and Gaggade have shown potential.

The ministry added that Djibouti’s geothermal resources has generated significant interest from the US, Japan, Australia and Italy.

In addition, companies such as Qatar Electric and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures of Spain are involved in developing wind power and solar power projects across the country.