Kenya, Egypt Lead Surge in Global Wind Energy Capacity

Record Year as African Nations Excel in Wind Power

by Adenike Adeodun

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has recognized Kenya and Egypt as pivotal players in the burgeoning wind energy sector. According to the GWEC’s 2024 Global Wind Report, these two nations are singled out as “markets to watch” due to their significant strides in harnessing wind power. This accolade arrives at a time when the global wind energy industry is experiencing a record-breaking year, with a 50% increase in new installations compared to the previous year, amounting to 116.6GW in 2023 alone.

The 2023 increase in wind power capacity has propelled the total global installed capacity past the 1,021GW mark, marking a 13% growth. Notably, new installations in the onshore wind market surpassed 100GW for the first time, while offshore wind capacity saw nearly 11GW commissioned last year. These figures underscore 2023 as the highest year in history for new onshore installations and the second-highest for offshore.

Egypt’s Growing Wind Sector

In Egypt, the wind power capacity has now exceeded 1.6 GW. Key projects include the 262.5MW Ras Ghareb, the 250MW West Bakr, the 580MW Gabal el Zeit, and the flagship 545MW project in Zaafarana. The Ras Ghareb wind project, notable for being the first privately-owned wind project awarded by public tender in Egypt, and subsequently developed projects signify Egypt’s shift toward privatizing wind energy initiatives. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) is reportedly contemplating a transition from being the sole electricity offtaker to assuming the role of a Transmission System Operator (TSO). This transition is aimed at enhancing the structural framework for wheeling charges, which will facilitate private bilateral offtake contracts essential for upcoming green hydrogen projects.

Kenya’s Leadership in Wind Energy

Kenya is heralded as a renewable energy champion in Africa, with wind energy contributing over 12% to its total installed power generation capacity as of June 2023. Wind power currently supplies approximately 17% of Kenya’s electricity, positioning it as the third most significant source after geothermal and hydropower. Looking ahead, the state generator KenGen has ambitious plans to construct a 1GW wind park in Marsabit County, starting with an initial 200MW capacity. This project is anticipated to harness a high capacity factor similar to the nearby Lake Turkana wind project, which is Africa’s largest wind farm, comprising 365 turbines and contributing about 17% to Kenya’s installed capacity.

Further expansions are planned for the Kipeto and Lake Turkana Power projects, although these are contingent on securing offtake agreements and the availability of adequate transmission infrastructure. The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority in Kenya is also poised to introduce new regulations for the wheeling of electricity, which is expected to boost the captive wind industry, powering large-scale industrial projects and Power-to-X initiatives directly.

Global Wind Energy Trends

On a global scale, the wind industry’s capacity to connect 117GW of wind power to the electricity grid in a single year demonstrates its resilience and adaptability. This significant achievement highlights the sector’s critical role in combating climate change. Feng Zhao, the GWEC Head of Strategy and Market Intelligence, noted that the milestone of surpassing the first 1 Terawatt (TW) of cumulative capacity marks a pivotal moment for the industry, particularly in the onshore wind market, which saw a remarkable 54% year-on-year growth.

China continues to lead in both onshore and offshore wind development, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, and India. These five countries accounted for 82% of the global new installations in 2023. The favorable political climate worldwide suggests that approximately 791GW of new capacity could be added over the next five years under current policies, equivalent to 158GW annually until 2028.

As countries like Kenya and Egypt lead the way, the wind energy sector’s expansion reflects a broader global shift towards sustainable energy solutions. This transition not only supports environmental sustainability but also fosters significant economic growth and innovation within emerging markets. The ongoing developments in wind technology, policy frameworks, and international collaboration are key to realizing these goals, ensuring a resilient and sustainable energy future for the global community.

Source: ESI Africa

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