Construction will start shortly at the Taiba N’Diaye wind farm in Senegal after the project’s developer, Lekela, reached financial close.

The 158.7 MW project is the country’s first utility-scale wind farm and will increase Senegal’s power generation capacity by 15 per cent. Lekela said that financing has been provided by OPIC, the US Government’s development finance institution and EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency.

Taiba N’Diaye will start operating in “less than two years’ time” according to Lekela, and will provide “clean, reliable, and competitively-priced energy to the rapidly expanding local grid”.

The wind farm will be located 70 km north of Dakar and will comprise 46 Vestas 3.45 MW wind turbines. It will form a key part of the Senegalese government’s strategy to increase energy production from clean sources.

“Taiba N’Diaye is just one of several Lekela projects currently in operation, construction or development,” said Chris Ford, Chief Operating Officer at Lekela. “At present, the company’s pipeline consists of over 1300 MW across projects in Egypt, Ghana and South Africa, as well as Senegal.”

“The demand for competitively-priced clean power is growing daily across the continent,” said Chris Antonopoulos, Chief Executive Officer at Lekela. “Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are quick to build and use natural resources that are abundant in many African countries, rather than relying on importing costly fossil fuels.

“The challenge is bringing together the technical, financial and development expertise required to turn these opportunities into reality.”