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Somalia: the first hybrid plant combining solar and wind power is now operational in Garowe
In Somalia, the first hybrid plant powered by solar and wind energy is now operational. It will supply Somali people with low-cost electricity and cut CO2 emissions.
The city of Garowe, the capital of the state of Puntland, in the Northern part of Somalia, is also lit thanks to solar and wind energy. This small revolution was made possible by the construction of a hybrid energy plant realised by the Italian company Elvi and commissioned from the Italian and French group Electro Power Systems (EPS) that works to provide sustainable energy and create zero impact energy storage systems.
The plant, which is operational since 22 February 2016, produces 3.5 MW of energy and is expected to be further extended with 450kW of wind energy, covering more than 25% of the city’s energy need. Considered the stronghold of piracy, an issue threatens the Arabian Sea in the Gulf of Aden – the water route of tankers headed to the Mediterranean Sea – Garowe is in a crucial position between Northern and Southern Somalia. But although the state of Puntland has managed to maintain stability during the long Somali Civil War, the country finds it hard to make its economy recover. This is not just a matter of safety, even though along the road that connects Garowe to Bosaso – which is about 300 km long – there are at least thirty police blocks.
“Currently the price of energy is very high – says Ivo Sciuttini, the group’s International Business Development manager – about one dollar and a half for every Kwh. It’s apparent that with this price local enterprises can’t compete and access the market”.
Now, the hybrid plant helps reduce diesel consumption by more than 2,000 litres a day, providing the local population with clean energy and a more reliable system and helping it reduce their energy bill by 20%. The plant, which is fully remotely controlled, is mainly composed of solar panels, wind turbines, an energy storage system, backup generator and a medium voltage distribution system.
By now, the clean energy generated by the plant is used to light up households, but hopefully a potential reduction of costs will boost businesses. “A small business has already been established – Elvi’s manager says –, it’s a dairy that produces camel milk and cheese. The owners – various inhabitants of the region – gathered two dozen camels and a few goats, and even if it’s small, we’re proud of it because it represents a new beginning”.
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