STELCO’s Board Chairman Hassan Zahir and Zhou Jianying, Chairman of XMEC New Energy, signed the agreement at a ceremony held at the President’s Office. STELCO’s Managing Director Dr. Zaid Mohamed said at the ceremony that the renewable energy project was being initiated after a bidding process. The best bid was submitted by the XMEC Group which had experience in providing 2-5 megawatts of electricity using wind turbines to harness wind energy, he added.
According to STELCO the wind farm project was awarded to the Chinese company as part of Maldives’ ambition to become the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2020. Zaid said that the wind farm project will provide up to 20 megawatts of electricity to STELCO’s grid.
“Initially we did not limit this project to a specific renewable energy source, but the XMEC group recommended using wind turbines given their experience with the technology,” he said.
Zaid noted that under the agreement the company will generate 50 megawatts of wind energy for the Male area and a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant is to be built to provide 30 megawatts of energy on windless days to prevent service disruption.
“The energy harnessed from the wind turbines and back up LNG plant is to be fed to the STELCO grid via submarine cables connected to Male and Hulhumale,” he revealed.
Zaid further added that work on the project will begin within the next three months. If the project is successful, electricity will be provided at a cheaper and more stable price in the long term, he assured. According to STELCO XMEC is scouring areas in Male atoll to locate the wind turbines and LNG plant.