A wind power project largely funded by the European Investment Bank on the small island state of Cape Verde has been awarded the “Best Renewable Project in Africa” prize at the Africa Energy Awards 2011 in Johannesburg.
The EIB, as lead financier together with the African Development Bank, invested €45 million in four onshore wind farms on four islands in the Cape Verde archipelago (Santiago, São Vicente, Sal and Boa Vista).
The 32 turbines benefit from the favourable conditions created by the prevailing trade winds coming from the Atlantic.
“Enabling small island states to use renewable energy is part of our climate action efforts,” said EIB Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris, who is responsible for operations in the region. “Close cooperation between the EIB and the African Development Bank shows how long-term public finance can make a difference to such projects in difficult economic times.”
Expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, they will add over 28 megawatts (MV) of electricity to the local energy supply and ease Cape Verde’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Traditionally, Cape Verde has relied on imported diesel fuel to meet its power supply requirements. However, in recent years the island’s 450,000 inhabitants have been suffering more and more from electricity shortages.
In a strategic shift towards renewable sources, Cape Verde’s Government wants to raise the share of wind energy production to 25 percent by 2012 and eventually to 50 percent by 2020.
“The Cape Verde Wind Power project is truly groundbreaking,” said Fabio Borba, Vice-President of InfraCo, which is managing the development of the wind farm. “Its novel public-private partnership structure will set an example for the whole region.”
“With wind farms installed on four islands of the archipelago, the project will assist Cape Verde in achieving its electricity supply targets with the least environmental harm. The EIB is covering nearly half of the project financing. Without its support, commitment and foresight the project would have not come to fruition,” Borba added.