Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power, has signed an agreement with Swiss wind farm developer NEK Umwelttechnik, to build and operate Ghana’s first utility-scale wind farm at Ayitepa, 40 kilometres from Accra.
Mainstream Renewable Power signed the agreement to purchase the 225 megawatt (MW) Ayitepa Wind Farm, which represents a total investment of 525 million dollars, and is expected to reach financial close next year and start generating power early in 2016.
A statement issued by Kim Camilleri Director Strategic Communications of the company and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday said “The companies will co-develop the wind farm until financial close.
“Mainstream will manage the construction as well as the operations and maintenance of the wind farm for its lifecycle.
“The project is currently in the latter stages of development with all major permits secured. Grid and off take agreements are being finalized”.
It said when fully operational, the wind farm would generate approximately 10 per cent of Ghana’s total electricity generation capacity, which currently stands at 2,000MW.
The statement quoted Mr Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, Director of Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum said: “It is my hope that this agreement between NEK and Mainstream will accelerate the process towards the realization of wind farms in Ghana and they can be assured of the full support of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
“The project is consistent with government policy to increase the contribution of renewable energy in the electricity generation mix.
“The Renewable Energy Act 2011 (Act) provides the necessary legal and fiscal incentives including feed-in-tariff or sufficient security to ensure return on investment by Independent Power Producers.
“The government has more than two years of bankable wind energy data along the south eastern corridor of the country where wind energy prospects are very encouraging”.
According to the statement, Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said: “This wind farm is the ideal solution for Ghana because the country needs large quantities of electricity and it needs it fast. Wind and solar power are the only proven technologies in the world today which can achieve the dual objectives of speed of deployment and scale.
“From initial concept to operation Mainstream has delivered utility-scale projects into operation in just over three years.
“The Ayitepa Wind Farm is well advanced, and can be generating electricity in less than 18 months from now. No other generation technology can match that in terms of speed of delivery.”
He said Mainstream was delighted to further strengthen their position as the leading wind and solar developer on the continent of Africa.
“We have already developed and built the continent’s largest operating wind farm at Jeffreys Bay. In South Africa, Mainstream has three wind and solar farms already operational and an additional three large-scale wind farms ready to go into construction this year.”
The statement quoted Dr. Christoph Kapp NEK’s Chief Executive as stating that: ”After more than 15 years of presence in Ghana, NEK is very pleased to announce that with Mainstream Renewable Power we have found a very experienced and professional partner with whom we will implement this first large scale wind project in West Africa.
“This project will not only contribute to a sustainable, clean and independent production of electricity, but will also be accompanied by a lot of social benefits and improvements for the local population such as labour, better education, water supply and electrification for nearby villages and towns”.
Mainstream Renewable Power is one of the world’s leading independent developers of renewable energy projects.
With a development pipeline of over 17,000 megawatts globally, it is currently operating and constructing solar and wind farms across Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada.
NEK Switzerland has been active in Ghana through its branch NEK (Ghana) Ltd. in the wind energy sector since 1998. NEK (Ghana) Ltd. was established in 2003 in order to develop renewable energy projects in Ghana.