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Thies Region marked as renewable energy hub – Senegal

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Of the nine power plants (solar and wind) that supply clean energy to Senegal, six are situated in the Region of Thies, located seventy kilometres east of Dakar.

These plants include Ten Merina (Merina Dakhar), Senergy (Santhiou-Mekhe), Malicounda, Meouane, Diass solar fields, and the Taiba Ndiaye wind farm.

The solar power plants of Kahone in the central region of Kaolack, Sakal (in the northwest region of Louga) and Senergy II of Bokhol (in the northern region of Saint-Louis) are the only ones that escape the hegemony of Thies.

According to Yassine Majdallah, the factory manager at the Lekela firm and also the manager of the Taiba Ndiaye wind power plant, the region has become “a champion of the development of renewable energy in Senegal and even in Africa” thanks to three significant factors.

The first factor is related to natural resources. “Thies has a very high wind and solar irradiation,” Majdallah says.

In terms of logistics, this region is very close to Dakar, the Senegalese capital and its strategic port. This makes it easier “to dispatch imported equipment on a quality road,” the factory manager notes.

Yassine Majdallah also argues that “the availability (in Thies) of evacuation stations and the high voltage line of Senelec (Senegal’s National Electricity Company) make it possible to optimise the cost of transporting energy, thereby reducing that of the kilowatt-hour (kWh).”

In addition to the favorable conditions for the establishment of power stations, the region’s local authorities are investing in the realisation of these projects. “When Bruno Vigneron (the promoter) came in 2007, he had nothing by an idea of a project. We were the ones who helped him identify the site. Along the way, the project needed land and the Rural Council granted fourty-one hectares for the project,” Ale Le, the mayor of Taïba Ndiaye proudly states.

“The Taiba Ndiaye wind farm and the Tobene power plant have committed to electrifying our three boreholes. This will drastically reduce the price of water, whose cubic meter is currently sold at 250 CFA francs. But it could be reduced to 100 CFA francs,” the mayor explains.

Le, who is also the former president of the Union of the Associations of Elected Local Officials (UAEL), declares that “in the phase of construction of the wind power plant, three-hundred young people are working there and two thirds (are from) the area. For Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the promoters plan to support the municipality for the next twenty years by injecting between 300 and 400 million CFA francs annually.”

According to Tanguy Levesque, Director of Vestas, the company that manufactured the wind turbines, “during the peak of construction period, more than eight-hundred jobs were created and many young people of the area have acquired new skills.”

In order to run the turbines at full speed, Vestas has “hired fifteen Senegalese technicians trained in their country,” Levesque adds.

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