Djibouti opens gigantic wind farm
Djibouti launched its first wind farm this week, advancing the country's goal of becoming the first in Africa to rely fully on renewable energy by 2035.
President Ismail Omar Guelleh launched the Red Sea Power wind farm, near Lake Goubet. The farm is expected to provide 60 megawatts (MW) of clean energy, boosting the country’s overall capacity by 50%.
The wind farm spans 387 hectares, equivalent to over 700 football pitches. The site’s 17 Siemens turbines each produce 3.4 MW, served by a 220 megavolt amperes substation and connected by a 5km overhead transmission line to the local grid operator and warehousing.
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is the lead developer, joined by the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, blended finance fund manager Climate Fund Managers, and Great Horn Investment Holding (GHIH), an investment firm owned by a unit of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority and the Djibouti Sovereign Fund.
According to the developers, this initiative will cut Djibouti’s CO2 emissions by 252,500 tonnes each year, which is equivalent to the pollution produced by almost 55,000 buses.
The electricity generated is to be sold under a long-term power purchase agreement to Electricité de Djibouti, the national state-owned utility.
Using the project as a template for future Independent Power Producers (IPPs), the Government of Djibouti said it is already working on several other plants for additional geothermal and solar capacity.
According to the consortium, the $122 million initiative establishes Djibouti's first IPP and serves as a model for future private investment.
Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chair, GHIH, said: “Our aim is to be the first country in Africa to be 100% reliant on green energy by 2035. Investment in renewable energy infrastructure is the key to enabling our ambitions, and the inauguration of the groundbreaking Red Sea Power wind farm is a major milestone. A reliable and cost-effective energy solution is vital to drive Djibouti's infrastructure growth.
“With the development of Industrial Free Zones projects, we estimate that the country faces a projected demand of 3,700 MW in the next decade. Tapping into renewable resources like solar, geothermal, wind and tidal is crucial to bridge this gap.”
The launch of the farm is a significant step towards narrowing Djibouti's energy access gap and ensuring energy sovereignty, which will help the country's long-term social and economic growth, said Michael Jongeneel, CEO, FMO.
Francois Maze, CEO, Red Sea Power, said: “In a country currently served entirely by fossil fuels and electricity imports, large-scale renewable energy solutions are urgently needed to mitigate and increase resilience to climate change. The inauguration is an important milestone in Djibouti’s aim to be entirely served by renewable energy sources by 2035.”
In addition to the new wind farm, the Red Sea Power partners have built a solar-powered desalination plant that was also inaugurated this week.