VENTURES AFRICA – The Nigerian government says a 10MW capacity wind farm is almost complete and has already begun functioning on trial basis. Situated in the Northwestern state of Katsina, the project is the first wind-based energy development in the country and the largest in West Africa.
The 10MW wind power project can provide power for over 2,200 homes, according to industry calculations. The farm is situated in Rimi village, 25 km south of Katsina City. It is made up of 37 turbines, each with a capacity of 275kW. The state government first envisioned the project, inspired by the high wind velocity in Katsina, and gained the support of the federal government. The project was funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and developed by French company Vergnet S.A.
The Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s power ministry, Godknows Igali, said the plant is 98 percent complete. He told journalists that five of the turbines in the wind farm have been successfully tested, and confirmed that the transmission line was ready. Igali added that wind energy is an integral part of the National Policy on Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and described the wind farm as part of several other clean energy projects being planned or executed in the country.
About 80 million people in Nigeria lack access to electricity; it is one of the key hindrances to human and economic development in Africa’s largest population and biggest economy. However, the present government has initiated several measures to remedy the energy crises. Among them is the liberalization of the power industry to inspire public private partnership in the sector. The country has also been attracting interest in the harnessing of its renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy. Last year, Gigawatt Global, announced that it was building a 100MW PV station in the north. Motir Seaspire, a US investment consortium, also signed an MoU recently with the Nigerian government to deliver up to 1,200MW of solar-powered electricity in the country by 2017.