Lekela funds first wind power project in Egypt

Lekela, the renewable power generation company that delivers utility-scale projects across Africa, has reached a financial close on the 250MW West Bakr project in Egypt

Lekela claimed the West Bakr wind farm would increase Egypt’s wind energy capacity by 14 per cent.

The company said construction will commence soon and once the project is fully operational in 2021, it will produce more than 1,000GWh per year and power more than 350,000 homes.

Located 30 km north-west of Ras Ghareb, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will install 96 of its SG 2.6-114 wind turbines through a turnkey EPC contract and provide 15-year long-term maintenance services.

West Bakr Wind is joining Lekela’s portfolio of wind projects across Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa. In total, there are now more than 1,000MW in operation or construction.

Chris Antonopoulos, CEO at Lekela, said, “As our first project in Egypt, we have enjoyed working closely with partners and stakeholders, including the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and the New and Renewable Energy Authority, to get to this point. We see a great opportunity to invest in wind energy in Egypt, and we look forward to working in the country for years to come.”

The project has developed a community investment plan focusing on enterprise, education and environment initiatives. Local employment opportunities will be created alongside skills development and training to improve future employment prospects. The project will employ up to 550 people during peak construction.

West Bakr Wind is on an important bird migration path, so Lekela is working closely with authorities to ensure that wildlife is protected. The company is participating in a “shut down on demand” programme, meaning that when birds are detected the turbines are able to be stopped. Lekela has also signed a protocol with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and its Migratory Soaring Birds project to contribute towards the funding and implementation of the Migratory Birds Monitoring training programme.

As a long-term owner-operator, Lekela has a growing team in Egypt who will be responsible for taking this project, as well as other future ones in the country, from construction into operation.

“As a long-term operator with a long-term outlook, we are focused on delivering lasting impact. It is not enough to just invest money, which is why we focus on creating generation-spanning benefits for local communities. West Bakr Wind is the latest milestone in our plan to achieve this,” the CEO added.

Sabah Mashaly, Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company Chairman, commented, “This agreement is an important step and an integral part of our ambitious new and renewable energy strategy – to generate 20 per cent of our energy capacity from renewable energy by 2022. This also comes within the framework of the legislation provided by the Egyptian Government with all the involved authorities to facilitate the work of all investors in the energy sector.