Goldwind commissions first turbines in Ethiopia

ETHIOPIA: The first Chinese-made turbines in Africa are due to start turning next month when Goldwind commissions the first 15MW of what will eventually be a 51MW plant at Nazret in Ethiopia.

Goldwind's 1.5MW direct drive turbine
The project, which is equipped with 34 1.5MW machines, is a joint-venture between HydroChina International Engineering Company (HCIE) and Chinese construction group CGCOC.

China's Exim Bank is lending 85% of the $117 million investment, with the rest coming from the Ethiopian government.

Last May, HCIE and CGCOC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) for another 153MW at Nazret, again supported by the Exim Bank. A contract is under negotiation, says EEPCo.

The deal is likely to include a technology transfer, with HCIE helping to produce blades and towers locally. HCIE said this will "shorten the construction cycle and reduce the cost of long-distance transportation". Adama is around 1,000km from the nearest port at Djibouti.

Before the end of 2011, Vergnet is scheduled to commission the first 30MW of its 120MW project at Ashegoda.