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Cape Verde, Cabeólica Wind Power

Harnessing high wind speeds to meet 25% of Cape Verde's demand for power

Cape Verde Cabeólica

Home to around 470,000 people, Cape Verde is an archipelago of 10 islands located off the north-west coast of Africa. A decade ago, Cape Verde relied upon expensive fossil fuel imports for electricity generation, with fuel accounting for up to 11% of the country’s total imports. Fuel security was a major concern and residents experienced regular power outages. The Government of Cape Verde identified the potential of the country’s high average wind speeds (up to 10 metres per second) for the development of wind power as a sustainable, affordable alternative to imported fossil fuels.

The government struggled to attract private sector investment to progress the remote, complex Cabeólica project. InfraCo Africa was approached, through its principal developer eleQtra, to develop a 25.5MW wind farm across São Vicente, Boa Vista, Sal and Santiago, four of Cape Verde’s islands. Cabeólica was the first utility-scale wind power project in sub-Saharan Africa. InfraCo Africa invested US$7.8m, alongside US$469,000 in grant funding from TAF, to establish the regulatory environment and finance needed for Cabeólica to succeed. The project overcame numerous technical barriers constraining the construction of interconnected wind farms across four remote islands. InfraCo Africa has now sold its remaining stake in Cabeólica and can recycle its funds for future projects.

‘…Cabeólica (demonstrates) what small islands can achieve to increase their resilience and protect their natural resources. I hope others can learn from their innovation and resolve to fashion business strategies and solutions for the unique challenges of island states.’ S. Vijay Iyer Head of the World Bank Sustainable Energy Department.

Cabeólica is the first successfully closed commercial-scale PPP wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa. The facility meets approximately 25% of Cape Verde's energy demand, reducing power generation costs by around 20%. 360,000 people have new and improved access to clean electricity. Cape Verde’s CO2 emissions have fallen by almost 55,000 tonnes per annum and Cabeólica has been recognised as a Clean Development Mechanism by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). By developing the government's experience of PPPs, Cabeólica will enable it to attract private sector investment to the country’s renewables sector in the future. Cape Verde now leads the world in its ambition to achieve 100% renewable energy supply by 2020.