Lekela reaches Commercial Operation of 250MW West Bakr Wind Farm
Lekela, the renewable power generation company that delivers utility-scale projects across Africa, today celebrates a landmark moment as it reaches commercial operation of its West Bakr Wind farm in Egypt.
The project has taken less than two years to build since construction work started on site in February 2020. Comprising 96 turbines, installed by Siemens Gamesa, West Bakr Wind will produce over 1000 GWh of renewable electricity every year and prevent more than 530,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. On its own, West Bakr Wind will increase Egypt’s wind power capacity by 18%.
The project is part of the Egyptian government’s Build, Own Operate (BOO) scheme, a key element of the government’s ambitious aims to generate 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. It has also been made possible by financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation and the United States’ Development Finance Corporation.
Faisal Eissa, General Manager for Egypt at Lekela said, “This is a hugely important day for Lekela, with the wind farm now providing clean, reliable power in Egypt. It’s exciting to be part of this step towards a more sustainable Egypt.
“Providing this power is just one part of our work. The local community of Ras Ghareb has been incredibly important to the success of the project so far. We’re looking forward to continuing and growing our community investment programme, with lots more in store as we move into this next stage of the project.”
Chris Antonopoulos, Chief Executive Officer at Lekela said, “Reaching commercial operation of West Bakr Wind farm is a huge achievement. With the construction being carried out almost entirely during the pandemic, it proves that sources of clean, reliable energy can be constructed even during the most challenging conditions. We want to thank our partners and contractors, in particular Siemens Gamesa, for their work on the project.
“The wind farm will help push Egypt closer to its renewable energy targets and provide a significant uplift to Egypt’s wind power capacity. At a time when global attention is on the climate crisis, and what businesses and governments can do to solve it, this project shows that the future of energy in Africa must be renewable.”
As with all of Lekela’s projects across Africa the project will have a long-term impact during the economic lifetime for which it will generate electricity. The development of the next stage of a sustainable community plan for nearby Ras Ghareb is underway.
As well as creating jobs during the construction period, Lekela is supporting the local community through a number of socio-economic initiatives. These include its Women Empowerment Programme, which is focusing on skills development for women in Ras Ghareb including a Female Engineering Apprenticeship Programme specifically aimed at increasing female participation in the renewables sector in Egypt.
Lekela’s local commitment also includes protecting the Gulf of Suez’s rich biodiversity with the development of a ‘shut down on demand’ programme to protect migrating birds. To achieve this, Lekela has signed a protocol with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and its Migratory Soaring Birds project to contribute towards the funding and implementation of the Migratory Birds Monitoring training programme.
Lekela will also invest in consultancy services and training equipment, and has already sponsored trainees from nearby Ras Ghareb, creating sustainable jobs for the community and supporting the local ecosystem.