Abu Dhabi renewables company Masdar – majority owner of the world’s largest concentrating solar power plant, which launched in March – has today announced the launch of a 6MW, eight-turbine wind farm in the Republic of Seychelles, marking the first ever renewables project for Africa’s smallest nation.
The wind farm – which was developed by Masdar and funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) – is sited in Port Victoria, and will account for 8 per cent of the energy capacity of the main island of Seychelles, Mahé, which is home to 90 per cent of the country’s population.
A feat of engineering, the project required the construction of eight wind turbines on two separate islands, connected via 3km of sub-sea cables. Masdar has also chosen to use turbines that can harness energy during low-to-medium wind speeds, and are resistant to corrosion from salt and humidity.
Masdar says the energy generated by the Port Victoria Wind Farm will power more than 2,100 homes and save 1.6 million litres of diesel fuel per year, which it imports to run the generators that, until now, have met all of the island’s electricity demand. The wind farm is also expected to displace 5,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Using renewable energy to wean remote island nations off expensive and dirty diesel fuel generation is fast becoming Masdar’s specialty; the company is developing a similar project in Tonga – again, with funding from the ADFD – but in this case though the construction of a 500kW solar PV array with battery storage, that will account for around 13 per cent of the electricity demand on the island of Vava’u.
Masdar is also developing a 15MW solar PV power plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which will account for 10 per cent of the country’s energy capacity.
In the Seychelles, fuel accounts for 25 per cent of the country’s total net imports, so the plan is chip away at this – and to meet a national renewable energy target of 15 per cent by 2030 – by harnessing wind power and other renewable energy resources.
“This project builds on Masdar’s commitment to demonstrating the economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and CEO of Masdar.
“For remote island nations, the integration of sustainable energy can deliver an immediate economic and tangible impact. Today, Seychelles can redirect fuel savings into investments in infrastructure development, social programs and to spurring economic growth.”