The Assela I wind power project is a 100MW onshore wind farm to be developed near Iteya, in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia.
State-owned electricity company Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) is the owner and developer, while the Danish Government is providing the financial support for the project.
The loan agreement between the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Danske Bank was approved by the Ethiopian parliament in September 2020. The approval paves the way for the start of construction works on the project.
The total investment on the Assela wind farm project is estimated to be approximately £134m ($170.5m).
Scheduled to commence operations in 2023, the Assela I wind farm is expected to supply approximately 300GWh of electricity to the Ethiopia’s national grid a year.
The hydroelectric power plants account for nearly 90% of the total electricity generation in Ethiopia, while the country’s installed wind power capacity is estimated to be approximately 324MW.
The Assela wind farm will be located near Iteya, approximately 150km southeast of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The wind farm site is situated between the towns of Adama and Assela, in the Oromia regional state of Ethiopia.
Assela I wind farm make-up and turbine details
The Assela I wind farm will consist of 29 SG 3.4-132 wind turbines from Siemens Gamesa.
Designed to operate in moderate and high wind conditions, the rated power of the onshore wind turbine is 3.465MW which can be further boosted up to 3.75MW.
With 132m-diameter rotor and 64.5m-long blades, each turbine will have a swept area of 13,685m2.
The turbine blades are made of fibreglass reinforced with epoxy or polyester resin, and the tower height ranges from 84m to 165m. The turbine is equipped with a three-stage gearbox and a doubly-fed induction generator.
The SG 3.4-132 turbine design also incorporates the Siemens Gamesa Dino Tails®Next Generation technology to reduce noise emissions during the turbine operations. Serrated trailing edges, with finer combs between the teeth, are mounted on the turbine blade, as part of this technological solution.
Assela I wind farm project financing
The Danske Bank will provide a loan facility of approximately £108m ($137m) for the project. DSIF, earlier known as Danida Business Finance, is also providing financial assistance for the project.
The contribution from DSIF will be approximately £87m ($111m) which covers the cash grant, interest subsidy, and the loan guarantee. DSIF is managed by the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).
The feasibility study for the project was financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was awarded the turnkey engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Assela I wind power project by Ethiopian Electric Power in January 2021.
As part of the contract, Siemens Gamesa will supply 29 SG3.4-132 wind turbines. This is the first wind power project for Siemens Gamesa in the country.
Lahmeyer International (now Tractebel Engineering) conducted the feasibility study for the project in 2017.
Assela II wind farm project
The planned Assela II wind farm project involves the construction of a 150MW wind farm as well as a transformer station and connection to the high voltage transmission line. The project will supply approximately 450GWh of electricity to the Ethiopia’s national grid annually.
The Danida Sustainable Infrastructure Finance (DSIF) received a request from the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance for financing the project in November 2019. The estimated investment on the project will be approximately £207m ($269m).
The project is planned to be constructed on a site adjacent to the approved Assela I wind farm, between July 2023 and June 2025.
PEMconsult, a Denmark-based consultancy firm, is responsible for preparing a concept note and the Terms of Reference (ToR) for a feasibility study for the Assela II wind farm project. The feasibility study is expected to be conducted in 2021.