Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye celebrates groundbreaking on West Africa’s first utility scale wind farm

Posted on Thursday, 6 December 2018
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  • Construction of West Africa’s first utility-scale wind power project moves into full swing
  • 158.7 MW Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye positions Senegal as a pioneer of clean, reliable, competitively priced power that can be delivered quickly to the national grid.
  • Project is combining delivery of power for 2 million Senegalese with extensive local socio-economic impact over the project life

Senegal has the opportunity to become a clean energy pathfinder for other African communities to follow, according to delegates assembled today for a groundbreaking ceremony that marks the start of construction on West Africa’s first utility-scale wind farm.

Once complete in 2020, Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye (PETN) will deliver 158.7MW of clean, renewable wind power to over 2 million people in Senegal. It forms a critical component of Senelec’s energy mix and part of the Government’s “Plan Senegal Emergent”. The project is one of several being built across Africa by renewable power generation company, Lekela.

An audience of several hundred people was addressed by a number of stakeholders who collectively have helped transform the wind farm from idea to reality. State energy utility, Senelec and the Mayor of Taiba gave speeches on the project and its importance to the country and its citizens. Also present for the ceremony were the Project founders, Bruno Vigneron and Jeannot Schlernitzauer; Lekela CEO Chris Antonopoulos and General Manager for Lekela Senegal, Massaer Cisse.

As well as creating up to 400 employment opportunities during construction, PETN is deploying a broader socio-economic programme in the Taiba N’Diaye area creating sustainable livelihoods in the local community. Projects to improve local agriculture, provide vocational training opportunities, and refurbish or build local infrastructure is the start of this 20-year programme that will invest up to $20 million over the life time of the wind farm. Already, a new marketplace has been constructed for Taiba N’Diaye’s farming community, while a new IT centre is being built for local schoolchildren.

The 46-turbine wind farm using Vestas turbines is scheduled to be fully operational in less than two years’ time and will provide over 450,000 MWh of energy per year. This represents an approximate 15% increase in generation capacity for Senegal. Crucial to the project’s success has been the Plan Senegal Emergent, the government’s economic development accelerator programme.

Chris Antonopoulos, Chief Executive Officer at Lekela commented, “Senegal has been quick to embrace the idea and the advantages of renewable energy. Between Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye and several solar power projects also underway, the country is building a clear clean energy template for other African communities to study and follow.

Clean, reliable, energy, built quickly and that reduces the need to import expensive fossil fuels is an attractive combination. However, it takes the hard work and joined-up thinking of many people to turn that potent idea into 46 wind turbines and clean energy for 2 million people. Today, we celebrate that hard work and we thank everyone in Senegal and beyond who has helped us reach this point.”

Ale Lo, Mayor of Taiba, added, “PETN enjoys the trust of the people of Taiba N’Diaye, who support this project wholeheartedly. The project is already providing direct and indirect benefits, including through job opportunities and the creation of infrastructure and services for workers that will greatly benefit the local area.

Additionally, initiatives are in place to renovate the marketplace, provide classroom materials for schools in the area and a computer room for Taiba Ndiaye High School. The project will leave a legacy for future generations.”