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Wind Energy Conquering Africa

This week's great news: The African continent, where wind energy projects have so far been built up mainly in the Northern Sahara states and in South Africa, is increasingly relying on this clean form of energy generation.

Outside the cities many people on the African continent still have no access to electricity (Image: Pixabay)Outside the cities many people on the African continent still have no access to electricity (Image: Pixabay)

While the expansion of wind energy in Europe is increasingly faltering, more and more companies are turning to foreign markets. And there they are welcomed with open arms, as several reports from Africa this week show.

Access to electricity is still poor or non-existent for many people in Africa - and when it is, the costs are high. But as technology advances, there are many opportunities. For example, the price of wind power has fallen drastically in recent years, and solar systems and storage facilities as well as microgrids now make it possible to generate electricity from renewables even in remote areas.

This week, turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa announced that it has received an order from Djibouti for the first renewable energy plant ever. The small country in East Africa on the Red Sea has less than a million inhabitants. The planned 59 MW wind farm will almost double the country's current installed power generation capacity.

Despite the Republic's high resource potential and the possibilities for cross-border exports, there are still 110,000 households in the country without access to electricity. The new wind farm, which is part of an expanding national renewable energy development program, will provide clean energy supplies, reduce electricity costs and enable Djibouti's 940,000 population and key industries to strengthen their electrical independence and economic development.

wind turbine, desert, sun, wind energy, clouds,

Siemens Gamesa will build a wind farm in Djibouti (Image: Siemens Gamesa)

“Access to affordable energy is key to supporting long-term sustainability and economic growth. Industrialization, agricultural improvement or even the expansion of municipal water systems depend on reliable and cost-effective energy access,” explained Markus Tacke, CEO of Siemens Gamesa. “This project is another step in Siemens Gamesa’s commitment to shaping a sustainable future for Africa.”

Something similar is happening on the west coast of Africa. The first large wind farm was inaugurated this week in Senegal. The 158-megawatt wind farm was built by the British renewable energy company Lekela, which also owns wind farms in South Africa and Egypt as well as another one under construction in Ghana.

The wind farm will in future supply almost one-sixth of the country's total energy and ensure that Senegal obtains 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

“The energy mix we have today allows us to move past our dependence on petrol,” said Papa Mademba Biteye, director-general of Senelec, the national electricity company, at an inauguration ceremony in the rural community of Taiba N’Diaye, according to Reuters.

Outside the cities, much of Senegal is still not electrified. According to the World Bank, only about 60 percent of the 16 million inhabitants had access to electricity in 2017. "The next challenge is universal access," Biteye said.

sand, dunes, desert, sphinx, sun, people, camels,

Egypt has strongly promoted the expansion of renewable energies with the help of foreign countries in recent years (Image: Pixabay)

The situation in Egypt is already a little better. Here, too, the expansion of renewable energies is being strongly promoted. Last week, the start of construction of a 250 MW wind farm in the Jabal al-Zeit area was celebrated, as reported by Egypt Independent. Another project is the West Bakr wind farm, also being built by Lekela. Located on the Gulf of Suez, 30 km northwest of Ras Ghareb, the project will feed electricity into the grid from 2021.

According to the company, the project will increase Egypt's wind power capacity by 18 percent, which is an important part of meeting the government's 20 percent renewable energy target for 2022.

Energy Minister Mohamed Shaker said at the start of construction that electricity is one of the most important means of fulfilling people's wishes for a better future and is the main driver of economic and social development projects in Egypt.

This is a great opportunity for the continent to finally provide electricity to the people all over the continent.

Katrin Radtke
Africa, Djibouti, Senegal, Egypt, wind farm, installation, electrcity, megawatts, energy, access, Siemens Gamesa

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