The Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Joel Morgan and senior representatives from Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and from Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy company Masdar laid the foundation stone of the 6MW wind farm at Ile du Port, yesterday.
Envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and President Michel, the wind farm project is the first major renewable energy project in Seychelles and will constitute 11 percent installed capacity of electricity on the main island, which will cut down on fossil fuel import and reduce greenhouse gas emission.
Both preliminary and full feasibility studies have proved that conditions are favourable in Port Victoria for implementing the wind farm. Out of the potential sites, the locations on Romainville and Ile du Port have been chosen. Minister Joel Morgan said in his address at the ceremony, that these are the locations where the required criteria for erection, linking of the wind generators to the grid and their operations are met to the greatest extent.
The Minister informed guests, present at the ceremony that an Environmental Impact Assessment of the wind farm has been extensively undertaken to identify any potential problems for installing the aero generators at these two locations.
The benefits that Seychelles is expected to reap from this wind power project include an annual reduction in consumption of approximately two million litres of fuel for energy production thus saving Seychelles approximately 22.5 million rupees per year at current fuel prices.
Each unit of electrical energy produced by this wind farm will prevent the release of almost 800 grams of greenhouse gasses giving a total reduction of 6.4 million Kg of Greenhouse Gas emissions into the atmosphere annually.
The wind turbines will be located close to Victoria thereby reducing the power distribution losses since the energy will be produced close to the main load centres. There would also be a low cost of operation once installed, giving rise to reduce operational and maintenance overheads for PUC, thereby helping it together with the fuel savings made, to keep energy tariffs stable and affordable.
Seychelles is heavily dependent on imported hydrocarbon fuels for its primary energy supply to power its economy. As President, and also responsible for the portfolio of Hydrocarbon, President Michel initiated the wind farm project in 2009 during an official visit to the UAE, when he signed an agreement with his counterpart, and from there they set the ball rolling for this project to materialize.
By José Santamarta, www.masdar.ae