July 30 (Renewables Now) - Africa-focused renewable power producer Lekela today said it has reached financial close on its 158.7-MW Taiba N'Diaye wind power project in Senegal, the country's first utility-scale wind farm.
Construction on the facility, which will use 46 Vestas turbines of 3.45 MW each, will begin soon, the company added. Lekela is a 60/40 joint venture between Actis and a consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power.
The wind farm is expected to be fully operational in less than two years. Once completed, it will produce over 450,000 MWh per year, providing energy for over 2 million people, Lekela said. The project is expected to increase Senegal's power generation by 15%.
Financing for the project has come from the US government's development finance institution the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Denmark's export credit agency EKF. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, has provided political risk insurance, while the project's development has also been aided by Power Africa.
"The demand for competitively-priced clean power is growing daily across the continent," commented Lekela chief executive Chris Antonopoulos. "The challenge is bringing together the technical, financial and development expertise required to turn these opportunities into reality," Antonopoulos also said.