LEKELA WELCOMES GHANAIAN GRID EXPERTS TO SOUTH AFRICA AS PREPARATIONS TO BUILD GHANA’S FIRST WIND FARM ACCELERATE
Lekela, the renewable power generation company that delivers utility-scale projects across Africa, recently welcomed a delegation of 15 energy experts from Ghana to its South African wind farms.
The visit by 15 engineers and managers from Ghanaian grid operator, GRIDCo, and the Electricity Company of Ghana, was designed to share best practice on connecting renewable sources of energy like wind power to a country’s national grid.
Lekela organised the trip as part of its plan to build and operate Ghana’s first utility scale wind project, the 225 MW wind farm at Ayitepa. Financial close and construction are expected to start in 2018 and the first electricity will be ready to flow to the grid only 9 months later. As a result of the short construction phase, preparing the grid connection has quickly become a priority.
The Ghanaian delegation visited Lekela’s Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms. Each site has an installed capacity of 140 MW and both were recently connected to South Africa’s Eskom grid, providing a parallel for the Ghanaian experts to research.
The delegation attended ‘Grid Code testing’ for each site. This is undertaken before a wind farm can be connected to a country’s national energy grid. For commercial operations a wind farm must be tested to certify that is complies with both performance requirements and the grid code.
Mikael Schoultz, Vice President of Business Development for Sub-Saharan Africa at Lekela added, “One of the great advantages of wind power is the short time it takes from construction starting to energy being produced.
The more knowledge we can share between African nations on processes like this, the quicker we can work together to deliver clean, sustainable power to homes and businesses. Adding 225 MW of clean wind energy to Ghana’s existing hydro power plants will help deliver the reliable electricity supply the country will benefit from.”
Samuel F. Kwofie, Director of Engineering at GRIDCo, said, “This proved a highly valuable trip. We are looking forward to the construction, integration and operation of the Ayitepa wind project, beginning next year. As the first utility scale wind farm in Ghana, it will add considerable energy to Ghana’s grid and lay the groundwork to build more renewable energy sources in the country.
Our visit to the Loeriesfontein wind farm in South Africa has deepened our understanding of wind technology. It has also made clear the technical benefits wind energy brings to the grid, particularly in voltage stability.
The field tours and interactions with the manufacturers and grid operators in South Africa have enhanced our confidence. The wind farm Lekela is developing in Ghana will not only meet the technical compliance requirements of the Ghana Grid code but provide other operational benefits relating to ancillary services for the benefit of the grid. We would like to extend our thanks to Lekela for organising the visit.”
Ebenezer Baiden, General Manager for Regulatory and Governmental Affairs of ECG, stated: “The visit and training sessions were an eye opener to the Ghanaian Delegation in three ways: First, it provided a clear understanding of the prerequisites for commissioning a wind farm, processes required and the criteria for acceptance of test results. Secondly, it demonstrated how wind power projects could support grid balancing and dispatch. This was of great concern to the Ghana team. Lastly, the issue of reactive power compensation and ancillary services as the bigger picture was made very clear. And I believe it has set the tone for bigger discussions on PPA pricing, costing of ancillary services and it’s administration in Ghana.”
Lekela is a renewable power generation company that delivers utility-scale projects which supply much-needed clean energy to communities across Africa.
Through a platform built to develop, own and operate wind and solar assets, Lekela draws from its team members extensive experience, and from its founder shareholders decades of proven energy heritage. Lekela has the skills and drive to progress projects from mid or late-stage development into long-term operation. As a result, Lekela delivers sustainable, reliable and competitively-priced power to governments, utilities and large-scale industrial projects.
Lekela’s current portfolio includes more than 1,300 megawatts across projects in Egypt, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa.
Lekela is majority-owned by shareholders, 60% owned by Actis, the leading growth markets energy investor, and 40% by a consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power which includes investors such as the IFC and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
About Ayitepa, Ghana
Ayitepa is the first utility-scale wind power project in Ghana, originally developed by the Swiss engineering group NEK. It will provide 225 MW of much-needed clean, reliable, and competitively-priced energy into the country’s grid.
In total, the project will supply approximately 520GWh of clean electricity every year, helping to resolve the country’s energy crisis, diversify its fuel mix and avoid Ghana emitting 145,600, tons of CO2 per year.
During peak construction, over 600 employment opportunities will be created. The project’s Community Investment Strategy will also commit to initiatives that meet the need of local communities. A portion of the project’s annual revenues will be set aside to support local investments schemes and Lekela will work with local and national authorities to define the most suitable programmes to focus on.