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Lekela reaches financial close for its wind farm in Egypt

Renewable power generation company Lekela has achieved financial close for its first wind farm project in Egypt, called West Bakr Wind, according to a press statement on Thursday.

The statement said that construction will shortly begin, delivering 250MW of clean, reliable power at a highly competitive price. Once the project is fully operational in 2021, it will produce over 1,000GW per year and power more than 350,000 homes.

CEO at Lekela Chris Antonopoulos 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 great opportunity to invest in wind energy in Egypt, and we look forward to working in the country for years to come.”

Faisal Eissa, General Manager of Lekela Egypt, said, “We have reached this milestone with our financial partners, International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). We can now concentrate on the completion of the project, and will work closely with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, the EPC contractor for the West Bakr project, on the final steps before the project’s full operation scheduled in 2021.”

As part of Lekela’s strategy to create long-term value for the communities in which it operates, 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. During peak construction, the project will employ up to 550 people.

West Bakr Wind is located 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.

Located 30km north-west of Ras Ghareb, West Bakr Wind is part of the Government’s Build, Own, and Operate (BOO) scheme. It will increase Egypt’s wind energy capacity by 14%, as the country strives to meet its target of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022; which includes 67% partnership with the private sector. The project will also reduce more than 550,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.