With a passion for renewable energy, Senegal inaugurated what it describes as West Africa’s largest wind power plant on Monday. The zero-emissions power plant will supply up to 15% of energy production for the national electricity company, Senelec. Built in 24 months by British renewable power company Lekela, the power plant is located in Taiba Ndiaye about 86 km from the capital, Dakar. The first large-scale wind power plant in West Africa was created to have a capacity of 158 megawatts.
This is in line with the government’s plan to develop the country’s power sector. Hence, it aspires to make the Senegal an emerging economy by 2025. To achieve this, the government plans to increase access to electricity, particularly in rural areas through wind power and photovoltaics. Photovoltaics is the conversion of light into electricity.
According to the CIA, only about 65% of Senegal’s 15 million people have access to electricity. Through the wind power plant, 2 million more Senegalese will gain access to electricity.
Wind farms remain scarce throughout sub-Saharan Africa compared with solar plants, partly because they can cost more and take longer to build and because strong wind is generally less plentiful than sunshine. Senegal’s first solar plant came on board three years ago, and the country has since built several more. Other countries in the region are following suit with solar but are much further behind in terms of wind. In Taiba N’Diaye, 46 giant wind turbines rise over scrubland about 90km from the seaside capital. One-third are operating, and the rest are due to come online by June.
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