Senegal is constructing West Africa’s largest wind farm that will supply 158MW of electricity to 2 million people

The Taliba N’Diaye wind farm is part of President Macky Sall’s “Emerging Senegal” Plan which aims to speed up Senegal’s development. The wind farm will be completed by mid this year and will supply 158MW of clean energy as well as increasing the country’s energy supply by 15%. The wind farm has already started supplying 50MW to the national grid. Moreover, the wind farm will offset about 300,000 tons of carbon emissions annually thus protecting the environment from climate change devastation.

A renewable energy development company, Lekela Power, is building the wind farm. The total cost of the project is 340 million euros and is being funded by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), The Danish Export Credit Agency (MIGA) and the United States Agency for International Development Power Africa. The wind farm comprises of 46 wind turbines each producing 3.45MW of electricity and is located 100 kilometers north of Dakar.

Renewable energy as the future energy source for the continent

Africa has tremendous potential for renewable energy. For instance, the Inga falls in the DRC has the potential to power up half the continent. The continent also has year-round sunlight ideal for solar energy. Although the continent is blessed with massive energy resources,  it is not being utilized to the maximum. As a result, more than 500 million Africans lack access to electricity.

This lack of access to electricity contributes to the low manufacturing output and high unemployment rates in the continent. For instance, it has been reported that Nigeria suffers a yearly 5% loss in GDP due to erratic power supply. Consequently, most Nigerians use back-up generators for their homes and businesses. This negatively affects the environment and health of the people through the pollution from generator fumes.

The way forward for Africa’s energy crisis

Currently, there is only one solar manufacturing company, Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property, in the continent located in South Africa. The market for renewable sources of energy is huge in the continent.

African entrepreneurs should grab this opportunity and set-up solar manufacturing plants. There is a huge untapped solar market on the continent. Entrepreneurs could partner with foreign companies to invest in solar manufacturing plants on the continent. This would lead to skills transfer as well as pioneering innovative solutions to solar manufacturing in the continent.

It is only through siting these companies in the continent that will lead to the long term solutions of the energy crisis. This is because when these companies are domiciled in the continent, they would provide maintenance services as well as using local content to provide more innovative solar products.

Congratulations to Senegal for leading the way for wind farms in West Africa.

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