Wind farm project gets off the ground


Shaking hands after unveiling the plaque to mark the official launch of the project

A stone-laying ceremony to officially launch the project took place yesterday morning at Ile du Port, where some of the turbines will be located.

A number of guests were present for the event, including President James Michel, cabinet ministers, secretary of state Barry Faure, principal secretaries, members of the National Assembly and other high government officials. Also present were members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of various government departments.

The wind farm project was initiated by President James Michel in 2009 during an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he signed an agreement with his UAE counterpart, His Highness Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The project manager for the wind farm is Masdar, a renewable energy company who will implement the project in collaboration with local partners such as the Seychelles Energy Commission.

The wind farm project is the first major renewable energy project in Seychelles and one of the most significant in the Western Indian Ocean region. There will be eight turbines in all -- five located on Ile de Romainville and three on Ile du Port – which will contribute up to 11% of the installed capacity of electricity on Mahe.

Minister Morgan addressing guests at the ceremony

Addressing the guests at yesterday’s stone-laying ceremony, the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy Joel Morgan said studies have shown that conditions are favourable in Port Victoria for implementing such a project and that the current sites are those found to be most appropriate.

“This wind energy production project will yield significant benefits, which include an annual reduction in consumption of approximately two million litres of fuel for energy production, thus saving Seychelles approximately R22.5 million per year at current fuel prices,” he said.

A partial view of Ile du Port where some of the turbines will be located

“These turbines will be located close to Victoria thereby reducing the power distribution losses since the energy will be produced close to the main load centres. There will also be a low cost of operation once installed, giving rise to reduced operational and maintenance overheads for the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), thereby helping it together with the fuel savings made, to keep our energy tariffs stable and affordable.” 

A representative of Masdar, Bader Al Lamki, said there is no doubt that the wind farm will play a vital role in the future of energy in Seychelles.

“The collaboration between Seychelles and the UAE is key to the success of this vision and working together with like-minded partners is the only way to be able to achieve our goals,” he said.

“In just six years Masdar has become a paramount player in the world of solar and wind energy with power plants worth several billions of dollars either under construction or already in operation in the UAE and internationally. In the international arena we have projects in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and several other countries.”

The Seychelles wind farm project is funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the manufacturing of the turbines have been awarded to Unison, a South Korea-based company.

When the project is completed, the PUC will get ownership of the wind farm to operate and maintain it.

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