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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
23 februari 2008

Dutch turbines to harvest African wind

Also this year the 30 MW wind farm Kinangop in Kenya will go into construction. Van Gastel is not afraid that the current violence in Kenya will jeopardize this project. “I keep in close contact with our people over there, and they don’t feel threatened at all. Everybody needs energy.” Projects totalling over 2,700 MW have been initiated in Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Djibouti, Somaliland, Sudan and Sierra Leone.

Aeolus Associated was founded in 2004 as a renewable energy specialist and Africa became the focal continent after a reconnaissance visit to Namibia in September 2005.

According to Van Gastel the financial world has a serious interest in financing and investing in bankable RE projects but has a natural hesitancy when it comes stimulating and contribute to the development phase of such projects. “Wind turbines are bankable, as western banks are familiar with them. Moreover solar projects are still not feasible without subsidies: solar energy is still seven times more costly than wind energy. Which is a shame, as Africa is never short of sun shine.”

AA has agreements with FMO (The Netherlands Development Finance Company) for (sub)debt funding and financial lead arrangements. Arrangements have also been made with equity investors and with the Dutch government on carbon credits: the windmills will be partially (5 to 10 percent) financed with money from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This Mechanism is part of the Kyoto-protocol and allows industrialized countries (Annex-I) to finance renewable energy projects in developing countries. The achieved emission reductions (carbon credits) can be purchased by these Annex-I countries in order to meet their national reduction targets under the Kyoto-protocol. Van Gastel: “Africa could profit tremendously from CDM, but the rules are too complicated for most African countries.”

With 13.1 percent of the world’s total population, Africa consumes only 5.5 percent and generates only 3.1 percent of the world energy. In 2002, the continent’s electricity consumption was 514 kWh per capita, the lowest of all world regions.

P+ webtip: Aeolus