Vergnet recommends Alstom turbines for Ethiopian project

ETHIOPIA: The layout of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest wind power project - a 120MW installation at Ashegoda in Ethiopia's Tigray province - has had to be changed following a rerouting of the air-corridor of nearby Makele airport.

Alstom's ECO74 turbine will be used on the 120MW Ashegoda project

 As a result, phases II & III of the facility will be relocated to a more mountainous area with more turbulent winds, and the 90 Vergnet GEV-HP 1MW turbines originally earmarked will be replaced with 54 Alstom ECO74 1.67MW machines.

Rather than carry out additional lengthy wind measurements to see if its GEV-HP turbine is suitable, French turbine manufacturer Vergnet, which is also overseeing the project, suggested using Alstom's class 2 machines instead. These are not only better suited to the new conditions, but will also be available more quickly, the company says.

Phase I of the project, using Vergnet turbines, will be completed in the autumn. Phase II is due for completion by 2013 and phase III by November 2014*.

In a separate move, Vergnet has signed a contract with Mauritania's Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière (National Mining and Industrial Company; SNIM) to build a 4.4MW project using its GEV-MP 275kW turbines. The facility, which be extended to 5.2MW, should come on line next spring.

Finally, the company has opened a US subsidiary in Boston, targetting what Vergnet calls the Proxwind market -- local, distributed generation -- with its 275kW machine.


*Correction (May 9, 2011). Phases II and III are due to be completed by the end of 2012.