Ethiopia will host the largest wind farm in Sub-Saharan Africa following the signing of a contract between Vergnet and the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo).
The France-based manufacturer of wind turbines is to supply and install 120 of its 1 MW GEV HP wind turbines in Ethiopia, which is experiencing rapid growth in electricity demand. The contract is the largest ever signed between a French company and an Ethiopian company.
The turbines will be installed over a period of three years, with the first 30 units to be delivered in 2009. Areva is to supply the high voltage equipment for the project.
Vergnet’s GEV HP turbine has been specially developed for areas of the world where the climatic and logistical conditions present complex challenges – areas that the company has dubbed “Farwinds”. The conditions mean that wind energy markets in these regions are in their infancy.
The EUR210 million project will be financed by a EUR165 million bank loan and a EUR45 million loan from French Development Agency AFD.
The Farwind regions are characterised by strong winds and extreme heat, are prone to cyclones, may be semi-arid or mountainous and have lack infrastructure. The GEV HP wind turbine is therefore light, small, easy to transport and can be lowered to the ground in the event of a cyclone.
Vergnet believes that wind energy markets in Farwind countries will show considerable growth rates in the coming years as governments seek to reduce dependence on oil.