The 6 MW Port Victoria Wind Farm just launched on Mahé Island in the Republic of Seychelles. The wind farm consists of eight turbines provided by Masdar and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). It is the first large-scale renewable energy project in the Seychelles.
The 6 MWs provided by the wind farm represent a full 8% of Mahé Island’s total energy capacity — and it will displace an estimated 5,500 tons of carbon dioxide every year, provide electricity to more than 2,100 homes, and reduce fuel use by about 1.6 million liters a year. Mahé Island is the main island of the republic, and is home to about 90% of its population.
Before this wind farm went up, the Seychelles were almost entirely dependent upon diesel generators for electricity — in addition to being quite expensive, these generators also produce a lot of air pollution. A full 25% of the country’s total net imports were diesel fuel. That’s quite a high percentage. As a result, the diversification of its energy mix has been a goal of the country for some time now.
This new project — developed by Masdar and funded by the ADFD — was created to address this — helping to cut down on costs, reduce imports, and reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.
The country’s current goal is to receive at least 15% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2030. With the completion of this wind farm, the country is now well on its way to reaching that goal.
“Access to sustainable, clean sources of energy is vital to our long-term economic development,” said James Michel, president of the Republic of Seychelles. “The addition of wind power is a major step toward meeting our clean energy targets and reducing our dependency on imported sources of power. We look forward to further opportunities to assess our wind power potential and continue to diversify our energy mix.”
As renewable energy technologies become more affordable, they are more and more becoming an economically viable way for countries like the Seychelles to improve energy security — ensuring access and also dampening the effect of market fluctuations. With the price of fossil fuels likely to continue rising over the next couple of decades, such a strategy is likely a smart one.
“The Seychelles wind project is an example of how access to energy can serve as a pathway for economic development and social opportunity,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and CEO of Masdar.
In particular, for remote island nations, the integration of sustainable energy can deliver an immediate economic and tangible impact. Today, Seychelles can redirect fuel savings into investments in infrastructure development, social programs and to spurring economic growth.
This project builds on Masdar’s commitment to demonstrating the economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy
With prices falling and new advancements in technology, renewable energy is reaching grid parity in many parts of the world. With energy demand expected to double by 2030 – putting a further strain on our natural resources – renewable energy is a viable solution to power future growth.
A couple of interesting things to note about the Port Victoria Wind Farm include:
- The 8 wind turbines were constructed on two different islands and connected via 3 kilometers of subsea cables.
- The turbines used are designed to work effectively in low-to-medium wind speeds, and are built so as to be resistant to corrosion from the salt and humidity of the location.
Masdar’s involvement in the Port Victoria Wind Farm isn’t an isolated circumstance — it currently has numerous other similar projects in development around the world. These include: A 15 MW solar PV power plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (the largest solar PV power plant in Africa), a 500-kilowatt solar PV power plant on the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga, and an off-grid solar PV project in Afghanistan that will provide about 600 residences with electricity.