AfDB, BEI to construct 4 wind power plants in Cape Verde

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (BEI) have concluded a deal to the tune of US$ 59 million, for the financing of a wind energy project in Cape Verde.

‘It will be one of the biggest windfarm projects in Africa and the first materialisation of the public-private partnership on renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa,’ the bank said.

The wind power project, facilitated by InfraCo, through a partnership between the Cape Verde government and the local electricity company, Electra, will supply more than 28 MW production capacity of electricity and will help the archipelago to reach the ambitious objective of covering 25 per cent of local electricity and renewable energy needs by 2012, to go up to 50 per cent by 2020.

The programme will have, not only as effect, to reduce the green gas emission, but will also increase access to electricity in Cape Verde, reduce the importation of fuel paid for in hard currencies and will help to make wind energy a reliable source of non-polluting renewable energy.

The BEI will contribute 30 million euros and the AfDB 15 million euros out of the 65 million euros for the project, which is part of the European Union’s strategy for the period 2008-2013.

‘Of course, climate change hinders sustainable development and the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals but can nevertheless create new jobs and new opportunities enabling Africa to look for development with low intensity of carbon, sustainable development can only occur with access to clean and renewable energy, diversified, reliable and affordable,’ said the president of AfDB, Donald Kaberuka.

Vestas has received an order for a total 25.5 MW consisting of 30 units of the V52-850 kW wind turbines for the Cabeólica project to be located on the islands of Santiago, Sal, São Vicente and Boavista in Cape Verde.

The contract comprises a full engineering procurement construction contract, a twelve-year service agreement and a VestasOnline® Business SCADA solution for each wind farm. The first turbines are expected on site at the end of 2010, and the whole project is expected to be fully installed by the third quarter of 2011.

The order has been placed by Cabeólica SA, a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Government of Cape Verde, the governmental owned utility company Electra, InfraCo, a privately managed donor-funded infrastructure development company, Africa Finance Corporation, a Pan-African development finance institution and Finnfund, a Finish development finance company.

Wind energy arrived in Cape Verde in 1994 but only provides two per cent of the electricity needs of the small archipelago, located 500 km off the West African coasts.

The wind farm projects will include exhaustive environmental studies, an evaluation of wind resources and interconnections of the high tension network.

All the wind turbines would be operational by the end of 2011 and will create unspecified number of jobs. The Cabeólica wind power plant will generate approx 120,000 MWh saving the environment from almost 46,000 tons of CO2 on an annual basis.