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Although Africa and the Middle East are more normally discussed as regions ripe to exploit solar energy, wind power does feature highly in the region’s energy mix. InDepth NRG is following the developments of projects across the Middle East and the African continent to deliver news and updates on projects and tenders as wind energy is adopted.

Masdar in the UAE has been investing in renewable energy projects for around a decade and owns shares in both the London Array and Dudgeon wind farms. Its international expertise is being utilised in conjunction with more efficient wind energy systems to great effect across the Gulf region. The company has even created its own wind speed map to assist investors and developers in locating optimal sites before engineers are deployed in the field.

As with the US, oil giant Saudi Aramco is leading the field within Saudi Arabia to exploit wind power and move the country away from its dependence on fossil fuels for national electricity demand. The company is cited as having earmarked around $16 billion for wind projects through to the end of 2018 (although this figure is for global expenditure). Morocco too has a significant installed capacity which it is looking to expand significantly over the next few years. GE has confirmed that has installed over 1000 turbines in what it describes as desert areas, and Gamesa has developed the 800MW of wind energy capacity available to Egypt, another area of growth for wind power.

In South Africa Eskom is the leading power generator and it is pushing forward plans for more wind energy capacity, and laying the foundations for its success in enhancing the nation’s grid capacity to accommodate new wind farms. Eskom has already secured financing from a variety of sources and is working with Europe’s EDF to ensure it can take advantage of the lessons learnt there in how integrate wind power into its existing systems.

Elsewhere both Ethiopia and Kenya have or have under construction in excess of 300MW of installed capacity each. Kenya has recently invested in a single major project and seems likely to be expanding its wind energy capacity; whereas Ethiopia has a self-imposed goal of drastically lowering its carbon emissions by 64 per cent in little over a decade, and wind power is set to play a major role. As these countries demonstrate the viability of projects and the ancillary benefits of a healthier population as pollution levels drop, more African countries will fall in line.

InDepth NRG will continue to look at the rapid rate of wind energy growth in the African continent and the adoption of renewable projects as part of many Middle Eastern national development “visions”.

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