Engie Partners with eleQtra for Ghana wind project
Friday, Jun 16, 2017
French energy major Engie has partnered with eleQtra, a UK-based developer of power and transportation projects with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, to build a 50-MW wind project in Ghana.

The US$120 million Ada Wind Project will be located in the Greater Accra Region, 109 km east of the capital Accra. Operations are expected to commence in 2019, six years after Ghana launched the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme to entice renewable energy independent power developers. Engie will take a 40% stake in the project.

“eleQtra is delighted to have Engie joining the development of what we believe will be the first wind energy project in Ghana,” eleQtra Partner Ebbe Hamilton was quoted saying.

Hamilton said the joint venture between the two companies paved way for the next phase of developing the project to bring it into operation “as soon as possible.”

According to Engie regional manager Western & Central Africa Philippe Miquel, the project will be instrumental in diversifying Ghana’s energy portfolio. “Our partnership will bring the technical experience, the local knowledge and the funding required developing, constructing and delivering this competitive 50-MW wind project,” Miquel said in a statement.

Under the August 2013 FiT scheme, electricity generated from Ada will be sold to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the state-owned power off-taker and utility, at US$0.07 per kWh – an equivalent of 32.1085 Ghanaian pesewas.

For eleQtra, this scheme is the company’s second largest renewable energy undertaking in Ghana after the 20-MW photovoltaic (PV) solar plant in the Northern region of the West African country. This PV plant is being implemented through the locally incorporated La Honda Solar.

The project developers have already been issued with a provisional generation permit from Ghana’s Energy Commission to construct the facility as an independent power producer (IPP), under a build, own and operate (BOO) model, following the signing of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

The two projects will form a major push in the country’s current drive to reduce its reliance on drought-plagued hydropower generation. As of the end of 2016, installed capacity stood at 4,132 MW, but plans are in motion to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s total energy mix to 10% by 2020. Overall, Ghana hopes to establish 2,000 MW of new capacity generation over the next three years.

Yet the renewable energy target appears unrealistic, given that no project has yet been completed, while solar – the only other main power generation technology, in addition to hydropower (52%) and thermal (48%) – has only managed a generation capacity of less than 1%, mainly in off-grid areas. With the backing of energy major Engie, the Ada project could be a breakthrough, but may not be enough to ensure the 2020 goal is met.

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