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5 African countries embracing wind energy

Sub-Saharan Africa’s wind potential could produce several times the current level of total African electricity consumption. Some countries have already taken it upon themselves to harness this renewable resource. Here are the top 5 of the biggest players

Wind turbines on the Ngong Hills of Kenya. Photo: Frederic Courbet/Corbis

Wind turbines on the Ngong Hills of Kenya. Photo: Frederic Courbet/Corbis

South Africa

In July 2014, South Africa inaugurated a R3 billion (R209 million) wind farm between the towns of Jeffrey’s Bay and Humansdorp. The massive 138 megawatt (MW) farm, larger than Ethiopia’s 120MW Ashegoda farm but not as big Morocco’s Tarfaya which has a total installed capacity of 301MW.

Photo: Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm

The Jeffrey’s Bay wind farm, comprising sixty 80-metre high turbines spread over 3 700 hectares, will supply enough clean, renewable electricity to power more than 100 000 homes a year, helping South Africa to avoid production of 420 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Kenya

Lake Turkana Wind Power Projec will be powered by the ‘Turkana Corridorwind’, according toQuartz. It is a low-level jet stream originating from the Indian Ocean and blows all year round. The project will consist of 365 turbines and expected to achieve 68% load capacity factor, which will make it the most efficient wind power farm in the world.

Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya. Photo: Colette Du Toit Photography

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It is one part of Kenya’s ambitious project to add 5,000 MW of power on the national grid in the next three years.

Egypt

A 200MW wind farm in Egypt’s Gulf of El-Zayt, touted to be the largest in Africa, has been inaugurated. The wind farm cost US$359mn and has been financed by the European Union (EU), Germany’s KfW and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Egypt's Zafarana Wind Farm is the largest of its kind in north Africa and one of the most productive wind parks in the world. Photo: Rainer Hackenberg/Alliance

Ethiopia

In May, the 153MW Adama wind farm was launched, making it the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa. The 102 70-metre high Chinese-built turbines are situated in a range of rocky hills in the Ethiopian highlands 100 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia's Adama wind farm. Photo: Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Over 75% of Ethiopia’s 94 million people, mainly those living in rural areas, are not connected to the national grid, and the country needs to increase its electricity production by 20 to 25% per year to meet rising demand, according to figures from the country’s energy ministry.

Morocco

Morocco is home to Africa’s largest wind farm, Tarfaya wind farm. The 301MW facility is situated on Morocco’s souther Atlantic coast and came at a cost of €450 million (US$480 million).

Morocco-wind-energy

Spread over an area of 8,900 hectares, Tarfaya wind farm consists of 131 wind turbines of 2.3 MW capacity each. The construction for the wind farm started in January 2013 and phased commissioning in tranches of 50 MW each began in June 2014.

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