Wind Wire: Wind and solar first

Djibouti, on the east coast of Africa, is on track to get its first grid-connected wind turbines as part of a project being developed by Maple Indian Ocean Resources (MIOR).

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MIOR, owned by American integrated independent energy company Maple Renewable Resources (MRR) of Texas, has agreed with the Djibouti Electricity Company (EDD) to build a combined wind and solar power project to replace Djibouti's aging diesel-fired generation units. The 40 MW wind plant is being built in Ghoubett, west of the Gulf of Tadjoura, where pre-feasibility studies indicate good average wind speeds of 9.3 m/s. MIOR has all necessary authorisations for the plant from the government and has signed a power purchase agreement on a take-or-pay basis with EDD.

The estimated cost, including an 8 MW combined concentrated solar power and diesel desalination plant, is $216 million, to be financed on a 60:40 debt to equity split. The debt will be arranged by MIOR via multilateral and development institutions, with MRR providing the equity. The Djibouti government holds a 10% interest in the venture. Financial close is expected early 2010, says MIOR, with commissioning scheduled for late 2012. MIOR is also conducting further studies for an additional 200 MW of wind plant at Ghoubett.

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