EIB and ADB finance wind farm in Cape Verde, Africa

This will be the first large scale wind power project in Africa and first renewable energy public private partnership in sub-Saharan Africa.

The wind turbines project will provide over 28 MW of electricity generating capacity and help the island reach an ambitious target of ensuring that 25% of local power needs are provided by renewable energy by 2012 and 50% by 2020. The wind energy project is being developed by InfraCo in a public-private partnership between the government of Cape Verde and local power utility Electra.

The wind farm project will introduce modern wind power technology provided by Vestas to enable wind power to be established as the primary alternative to electricity produced by fuel oil or diesel.

Alongside significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions the programme will increase access to electricity in Cape Verde, reduce the need to import fuel priced in foreign currency and help establish wind energy as a reliable source of non-polluting renewable power on the islands.

The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 30m and the African Development Bank EUR 15m for the EUR 65m wind farm project. The project follows the European Union 2008–2013 Cape Verde country strategy.

The agreement was signed in Washington D.C. by Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa, Cape Verde Finance Minister Cristina Duarte and representatives of the African Development Bank.

“Cape Verde is pleased to host the first large scale wind farm project in Africa and the project will help Cape Verde provide 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. We thank the European Investment Bank and African Development Bank for their financial support and expertise in making this project possible.” noted Cape Verde Minister of Finance Cristina Duarte.

“This project establishes wind energy as a competitive alternative to traditional diesel generation in Cape Verde. Enabling small island states to use renewable energy contributed to the global fight against climate change. Close cooperation between the European Investment Bank and African Development Bank demonstrates the contribution long-term public finance can make to developing renewable energy projects in a challenging economic climate” said Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa.

“Climate change seriously threatens sustainable development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. However, climate change also provides new incentives and opportunities for Africa to pursue a low carbon intensive development as sustainable growth requires access to diverse, reliable, affordable clean and renewable energy.” African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka added.

“The project propels Cape Verde into a position of leadership in renewable power generation in Africa where the country’s Public Private Partnership structure will be extensively studied and replicated throughout the region.” noted Fabio D. Borba, President of Cabeolica.

Wind energy was first introduced to Cape Verde in 1994, but until now only provides 2% of power needs in the small island state located 500km of the West African coast.

The project will include comprehensive environmental studies, wind resource assessment and interconnections to the high-voltage network. All wind farms are expected to be operational by the end of 2011 and provide significant employment.