Government of The Gambia signs MoU with Swiss Company NEK to develop On- and Offshore Wind Farms and to explore Green Hydrogen at Scale
The Government of The Gambia, represented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and Swiss renewable energy firm NEK Umwelttechnik AG have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a 200 MW onshore wind farm and a 350 MW offshore wind farm over several phases.
The Gambia: A Case for Renewable Energy
In The Gambia, access to electricity was at 69% of the population in 2022, while the countries agenda envisages full electricity access at the household level in urban areas and at the community level in rural areas by 2030. NEK’s wind farms will contribute to this goal and are also an important step towards The Gambia’s declared Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). The Gambia ratified the Paris Agreement and published in 2022 their second NDC, which also covers the power sector. An expansion of renewable energy technologies is included in The Gambia‘s NDC.
The population of The Gambia pays one of the highest electricity tariffs worldwide with an average above USD 0.23 per kWh in 2023, resulting from the very expensive use of fossil power plants. Once NEK’s wind projects will produce the first clean, sustainable, never ending, and homemade electricity starting from 2025/2026, the price per kWh for end users will drop sharply due to the relatively low generation costs of the wind farms. In addition, more power capacity is required in The Gambia in the years to come, which will be provided also by the wind farms. Surplus electricity can then also be exported to surrounding countries via the WAPP network.
In addition, the green energy produced in the wind farms can be used to generate Green Hydrogen, which is seen as the “fuel” of the future. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimated in a recent report that the potential for green hydrogen in Africa is expected to be around 1 trillion euros (USD 1.06 trillion) by 2035.
NEK’s Wind Farm Developments
We have started to measure the wind conditions in The Gambia in early 2022. The results for the first complete measurement year were promising, what triggered then the next development steps of the projects. Based on this approach, the Government of The Gambia and NEK decided to sign an MoU which defines the common approaches in developing the wind farms.
The onshore wind farm with a preliminary capacity of approx. 200 MW is planned to be built in the southern coastal region of the country, with further investigations on the specific locations required. Not far from the onshore wind farm, the 350 MW offshore wind farm will be situated between 5 and 15 km off the coast of The Gambia in relatively shallow waters.
This article was also recently published on ESI-africa.com: https://www.esi-africa.com/renewable-energy/the-gambia-explores-wind-energy-hydrogen-to-achieve-energy-access/
left: Onshore Wind Farm: Visualisation of Enercon Turbines in NEK’s planned 250 MW Konikablo wind farm, Ghana
centre: Symbolic picture of an offshore wind farm (Mariusz Paździora)
right: Wind measurement in The Gambia