First wind power expected 2016
Global wind and solar company, Mainstream Renewable Power, has signed an agreement with Swiss wind farm developer, NEK Umwelttechnik to purchase the 225 megawatt (MW) Ayitepa Wind Farm, paving the way for the generation of Ghana’s first commercially-viable wind power in the next 18 months.
The Ayitepa Wind Farm project, which is located 40 kilometres from Accra in the Eastern Region, represents a total investment of US$525 million, and it is expected to reach financial close next year and start generating power early in 2016 as grid and off-take agreements are being finalised.
It is expected that the two companies will co-develop the wind farm until financial close, which is when all the project and financing agreements have been signed and all the required conditions contained in them have been met to enable funds to start flowing so that the project implementation can actually start.
Commenting on the deal, Mainstream’s Chief Executive, Eddie O’Connor said: “This wind farm is the ideal solution for Ghana because the country needs large quantities of electricity and it needs it fast.
“Wind and solar power are the only proven technologies in the world today which can achieve the dual objectives of speed of deployment and scale. From initial concept to operation Mainstream has delivered utility-scale projects into operation in just over three years. The Ayitepa Wind Farm is well advanced and can be generating electricity in less than 18 months from now. No other generation technology can match that in terms of speed of delivery.”
He continued: “Mainstream is delighted to further strengthen our position as the leading wind and solar developer on the continent of Africa. We have already developed and built the continent’s largest operating wind farm at Jeffreys Bay. In South Africa, Mainstream has three wind and solar farms already operational and an additional three large-scale wind farms ready to go into construction this year.”
On signing the agreement, Dr. Christoph Kapp NEK’s Chief Executive said: ”After more than fifteen years of presence in Ghana, NEK is very pleased to announce that with Mainstream Renewable Power we have found a very experienced and professional partner with whom we will implement this first large scale wind project in West Africa.
“This project will not only contribute to a sustainable, clean and independent production of electricity, but will also be accompanied by a lot of social benefits and improvements for the local population such as labour, better education, water supply and electrification for nearby villages and towns.”
According to the agreement, Mainstream will manage the construction as well as the operations and maintenance of the wind farm for the lifecycle of the project, currently in the latter stages of development with all major permits secured.
When fully operational the wind farm will generate approximately 10% of Ghana’s total electricity generation capacity, which currently stands at 2,000MW.
The completion and operation of the Ayitepa wind farm project has attracted the interest of policymakers as it falls in line with government’s policy to increase the contribution of renewable energy in the electricity generation mix.
The Director of Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo noted: “It is my hope that this agreement between NEK and Mainstream will accelerate the process towards the realisation of wind farms in Ghana and they can be assured of the full support of the Ministry of Energy & Petroleum.”
“The Renewable Energy Act 2011 (Act) provides the necessary legal and fiscal incentives including feed-in-tariff (sufficient security) to ensure return on investment by Independent Power Producers.
The government has more than two years of bankable wind energy data along the south eastern corridor of the country where wind energy prospects are very encouraging.”