afrol News, 7 October - Finally, the funding to design, build and operate onshore wind farms on four islands in the Cape Verde archipelago has been granted. The ground-breaking project is seen as a model for renewable energy projects in Africa at large.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and African Development Bank (AfDB) today agreed to provide euro 45 million "to design, build and operate" the onshore wind farms in Cape Verde. Local authorities for a long time had sought funding for the large project that will make Cape Verde less dependent on oil imports.
According to the EIB, "this will be the first large scale wind project in Africa and first renewable energy public private partnership in sub-Saharan Africa." It is to stand model for other large-scale wind energy projects in Africa, which now may see the door open for external funding.
The project aims at providing over 28 MW of electricity generating capacity and help Cape Verde reach its ambitious target of ensuring that 25 percent of local power needs are provided by renewable energy by 2012 and 50 percent by 2020.
The project is being developed by InfraCo in a public-private partnership between the government of Cape Verde and local power utility Electra. Electra has for years been in the centre of a larger Cape Verdean privatisation scheme.
InfraCo is to introduce modern wind power technology to enable power to be established as the primary alternative to electricity produced by fuel oil or diesel. The wind farms will increase access to electricity in Cape Verde, reduce the need to import fuel priced in foreign currency and help establish wind energy as a reliable source of non-polluting renewable power on the islands.
"Cape Verde is pleased to host the first large scale wind farm project in Africa and the project will help Cape Verde provide 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. We thank the EIB and AfDB for their financial support and expertise in making this project possible," noted Cape Verde Minister of Finance Cristina Duarte at the Washington signing ceremony.
Plutarchos Sakellaris of the EIB emphasised on the environmental gains through the wind farms "This project establishes wind energy as a competitive alternative to traditional diesel generation in Cape Verde. Enabling small island states to use renewable energy contributes to the global fight against climate change," he noted.
Wind energy was first introduced to Cape Verde in 1994, but until now only provides 2 percent of power needs in the Atlantic island state. All the new wind farms are expected to be operational by the end of 2011 and provide significant employment.
"The project propels Cape Verde into a position of leadership in renewable power generation in Africa, where the country's Public Private Partnership structure will be extensively studied and replicated throughout the region," noted Fabio Borba, President of Cabeolica.
The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide euro 30 million and the African Development Bank euro 15 million for the project, whose total costs are set at 65 million. The rest of the investments are carried by the Cape Verdean government, Electra and InfraCo/Cabeolica.
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