Sudan, UNDP invest in wind energy

Sudan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) agreed on the funding of a long-term wind energy project in the country starting next year. 


Sudan and the UNDP signed the project agreement on Thursday, which will aim to diversify the country’s power sources, limit its reliance on fossil fuel, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government invested $213 million in the five-year project, and the Global Environment Facility and the UNDP will deliver an additional $4 million to its budget next January.

‘Studies on wind resources in Sudan have demonstrated that wind power represents not only a relatively low-cost and reliable form of renewable energy; but one that also contributes immensely to local employment, industrial development and export benefits,’ the UNDP stated in a press release yesterday. ‘With a measured monthly average of wind speeds of up to 8 m/s -particularly in the Northern region and along the Red Sea coast – wind conditions are very favourable for electricity generation in Sudan.’

The UNDP expects that the project’s first wind farm will be installed in the Dongola area of the Northern State. A 5 MW (megawatt) wind plant will be installed in 2015 and by the end of the project in 2019, a 100 MW wind farm will be established, the under-secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity said.

The ‘Promoting Utility Scale Power Generation from Wind Energy’ project further establishes frameworks that encourage private investments in the wind energy grid. “The most important parts are establishing a feed-in-tariff whereby investors know in advance the price of their generated electricity,” a UNDP communications coordinator said. In addition, concessions are made for private investors in the renewable energy source, “such as exception from customs, duties, and income taxes for long periods of time to allow then to pay back their debts”.

Forty-four percent of Sudan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuel, the UN development programme said. Irregular rainfall poses threats to the reliability of Sudan’s hydro-power. Electricity provision is still not reliable and experiences regular power outages. The UNDP therefore stressed the need to seek alternative renewable energy forms for the estimated 35 percent of the population which has access to electricity in Sudan.

The Global Environment Facility funds development activities on biodiversity and climate change, among others. Key partners collaborating on the project include Sudan’s National Energy Research Centre, the Sudanese Standards and Meteorology Organization, and several of Sudan’s ministries.