Djibouti’s New 60 MW Wind Farm Boosts Green Energy.

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With the opening of the Ghoubet wind farm in September 2023, efforts in Djibouti to expand its energy capacity and quicken the country’s transition from hydrocarbons to renewables advanced.

The Ghoubet wind farm, which is situated next to Ghoubet Lake in the Arta Region on the Gulf of Tadjoura’s southern shore, would produce 60 MW of clean energy, increasing overall capacity by 50% and preventing 252,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually—more pollution than more than 55,000 buses.

The $122 million project, which is the first major foreign investment in Djibouti’s renewable energy sector, is the nation’s first independent power producer (IPP) initiative and establishes a model for future private investment.

The wind farm covers an area of 387 hectares or more than 700 football fields. The 17 Siemens turbines at the location, each with a 3.4 MW capacity, are connected by a 5-km overhead transmission line and supplied by a 220-MVA substation.

It is the first IPP project in Djibouti, having been commissioned by the government in 2019 and inaugurated by President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh in September 2023. This comes after legal amendments to regulate IPPs were put in place in 2015.

The government and Red Sea Power (RSP), a group of investors that includes the Africa Finance Corporation, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, and Great Horn Investment Holding, which is owned by the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority and the Djibouti Sovereign Fund, have partnered to finance the wind farm through a public-private partnership (PPP).

A power line to the northern Tadjoura and Obock districts, as well as an additional 45 MW of renewable energy capacity, are already being planned by the collaboration. The administration is aware of how important PPPs are to the diversification and improvement of the country’s economic competitiveness.

Yonis Ali Guedi, the minister of energy and natural resources, told OBG that “PPPs are ideal because they facilitate efficient capital allocation without adding to the country’s public debt, and private investors provide the requisite financing and appropriate technologies.”

A long-term power purchase agreement will be used to sell the wind farm’s electricity output to the government-owned company Electricité de Djibouti.

The same day saw the opening of a new solar-powered desalination facility in Djibouti, sponsored by the RSP, that will supply 7000 liters of potable water per hour to neighboring villages.

The Ghoubet wind farm will supply electricity to larger desalination plants, lowering their operational energy costs. The first desalination plant in the nation, located in Doraleh, started up in March 2021 with a 22,500 cu m/d capacity. It is anticipated that this will double soon.

These and other upcoming projects are part of a larger effort to transform the country’s energy mix away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources, in keeping with the goals of Djibouti Vision 2035, the long-term development plan intended to turn the economy into a middle-income one.

Until now, Djibouti has relied on imported fossil fuels to fulfill its energy needs. A 283-kilometer interconnection link with Ethiopia supplies the majority of the country’s electricity. By the end of the plan, Djibouti Vision 2035 aims to achieve energy security and 100% renewable energy generation.

Utilizing energy from sustainable sources like geothermal, solar, and wind power can help achieve these goals, and the nation is making progress on a number of initiatives in these areas due to the promising future of these technologies.

“By 2035, we want to be the first nation in Africa to run entirely on renewable energy. To achieve our goals, infrastructure for renewable energy must be invested in. The opening of the Ghoubet wind farm represents a significant turning point in this regard. The expansion of Djibouti’s infrastructure depends on dependable and affordable energy solutions”, Great Horn Investment Holding chairman Aboubaker Omar Hadi told OBG. The nation is expected to require 3700 MW during the course of the next ten years due to the growth of industrial-free zones. To close this gap, it is essential to use renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, wind, and tidal.

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