UK Ambassador to Egypt Visits West Bakr Wind Farm

15.06.22 – Lekela welcomed Gareth Bayley MBE, UK Ambassador to Egypt, to its 252MW West Bakr Wind farm in Egypt yesterday. Ahead of Global Wind Day, the visit was designed to highlight the success of wind power in helping to create a more sustainable future, and highlight its future role in tackling climate change. Global Wind Energy Council ambassador, kitesurfer Lewis Crathern, was also in attendance.

The Ambassador spoke about how important investments such as West Bakr Wind are, highlighting the legacy of COP26 and the ongoing work to prepare for COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. The visit also served to highlight the long term  partnership between UK and Egypt on climate issues, and the need for ongoing cooperation and collaboration as part of the transition towards renewables.

They were joined at West Bakr Wind by Hamed Ahmed Hamed, Head of Ras Ghareb City Council. Together, they discussed the role West Bakr plays in both powering Egypt’s growth, and supporting local communities. This includes the wind farm’s role in Ras Ghareb, where Lekela is running a 20-year community investment programme.

Gareth Bayley, the UK’s Ambassador to Egypt, commented that: “It’s been a privilege to visit the site of Lekela’s 252MW West Bakr wind farm in the Gulf of Suez. It truly is an outstanding project, and will increase Egypt’s wind power capacity by 18%, helping prevent around 550,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Ahead of COP27 this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, this is an incredibly significant step towards Egypt meeting its renewable energy targets, and I am proud to see UK investment helping Egypt transition to clean energy for a sustainable future”

Faisal Eissa, General Manager for Lekela Egypt said: “It was fantastic to welcome the UK’s Ambassador to Egypt to our wind farm. As we mark Global Wind Day, it’s a great time to reflect and celebrate the work done here at West Bakr Wind. It is a hugely important project for the region, providing access to clean, reliable power and supporting the transition to a more sustainable Egypt, and it’s great to see that recognised. This comes at an exciting time, as we look to showcase the importance of wind power ahead of COP27 inSharm el-Sheikh.”

West Bakr Wind itself reached commercial operation in November 2021, having taken less than two years to build from construction works starting on site in February 2020. Since then, West Bakr Wind has begun delivering renewable energy across Egypt, supporting the government in its ambitious aims to generate 20% of Egypt’s electricity from renewable  sources by 2022.

The project is part of the Egyptian government’s Build, Own Operate (BOO) scheme, and was made possible by financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation and the United States’ Development Finance Corporation.

Having first created jobs during the construction period, Lekela continues to support the local community through a number of socio-economic initiatives. These include its Women Empowerment Programme, which is focusing on skills development for women in Ras Ghareb including a Female Engineering Apprenticeship Programme specifically aimed at increasing female participation in the renewables sector in Egypt.

Lekela’s local commitments also include protecting the Gulf of Suez’s rich biodiversity with the development of a ‘shut down on demand’ programme to protect migrating birds. To achieve this, Lekela has 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.