Electricity specialists and renewable power source advocates concur that wind energy can provide a clean and sustainable alternative to consuming non-renewable energy sources. Renewable energy doesn’t consume water, utilizes little land and creates zero ozone depleting substance outflows.
To generate a reasonable amount of wind energy, wind farms, which are a group of wind turbines in the same location, are used in generating electricity. These wind farms may cover anywhere from a few square meters to several thousands of square kilometers.
As the world increasingly turns its attention toward producing energy that is eco-friendly, renewable, and increasingly affordable, we put together a list of the five biggest wind energy farms in Africa based on the amount of electricity produced in megawatts.
1. Egypt: Zafarana Wind Farm (720MW)
The Zafarana Wind Farm is located in Egypt’s desert region, 120 kilometres south of Suez on the Red Sea. It is actually a complex of wind energy farms that has been extended and increased at least eight times.
The farm is situated in one of the windiest parts of Africa, where wind speeds can reach up to 9 m/s; the turbines are specially manufactured to cope with the extreme weather conditions in the desert.
The first phase of the wind farm was constructed around the early 2000s. It has 50 wind turbines each producing 600MW of electricity. An extension to the wind farm in 2007 added 142 new turbines and generated an additional 120MW of electricity.
2. Kenya: Lake Turkana Wind Farm (310MW)
The Lake Turkana Wind Farm (LTWF) power project is located in Loiyangali District in Marsabit County. It was built at a cost of about $700 million by a consortium of local and foreign firms, including KP&P Africa and Aldwych International. The project is often referred to as Kenya’s single largest private investment. Construction began in 2015 and is expected to be complete by 2018.
The Lake Turkana Wind Farm covers a massive 162km square of land. Each one of its 365 turbines has a capacity to generate 850KW of energy, producing a combined 310 MW of electricity which is approximately 17 percent of Kenya’s current installed energy capacity.
3. Morocco: Tarfaya Wind Farm (301MW)
The Tarfaya Wind Farm is located on the South Atlantic coast of Morocco. It was built at a cost of $490 million by joint venture partnership between GDF SUEZ and Nareva Holding. Construction started in 2013, and the earliest phases of the project were commissioned in 2014.
Spread over almost 9,000 hectares of land, the Tarfaya wind farm consists of 131 wind turbines, each with a capacity to produce 2.3 MW of electricity with a combined output of 301MW. At optimum capacity, it is expected to provide power for 1.5 million households.
4. Ethiopia: Adama II Wind Farm (153 MW)
Construction for the Adama II Wind Farm was commissioned by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo). Located in the city of Adama, 95 kilometers southwest of the capital Addis Ababa, the project was designed by local engineers but funded by China at a cost of $340 million.
The wind farm has 102 wind turbines each producing 1.5MW. When combined, they would generate 153 MW of electricity per year, meeting nearly 20 percent of Ethiopia’s annual energy demand.
5. South Africa: Jeffrey Bay Wind Farm (138MW)
The Jeffrey Bay Wind Farm is located between Jeffrey Bay and Humansdorp in the eastern cape of South Africa. The farm is part of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Program. The project is built by a consortium of Murray & Roberts Construction and Consolidated Power Projects. Construction began in 2013.
The wind farm covers an area equal to about 3,700 hectares. Its 60 turbines generate about 138MW of electricity per year, enough to power 100,000 South African households.