West Africa's largest wind farm will start producing energy for Senegal's national power grid by the end of December 2019. It will use 16 wind turbines that already are functioning for a total of 48 turbines that will generate 50 megawatts in the first phase.
Privately-owned British renewable power company Lekela expects the wind farm, located in Taiba Ndiaye, about 100 kilometers from the capital Dakar, to reach 158.7 megawatts by 2020.
Construction on the approximately 40-hectare site began in early 2018, and each piece of the 180-meter-wide wind turbine was imported by sea. The blades were made in China.
"It's a significant project for several reasons, the first one is an just that of energy, the size and the energy capacity that this plant will produce is going to satisfy an important and urgent need in the country. And we now are able and happy to do it with clean energy, and be it in Senegal or anywhere in the world, to build a wind farm of this size is always innovative," said Massaer Cisse, the head of Lekela in Senegal.
Blades are fixed on top of the turbines using a 1,750-ton crane brought into the country from Spain especially for this project. Each blade takes about an hour to fix onto the turbine.
Renewables currently make up a tiny portion of Africa's power generation, but several projects aim to increase that share. South Africa, Morocco, Kenya and Tunisia are all developing industrial-scale wind farms. (Reuters)