Cabeólica is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) established in 2008 between InfraCo Limited, a privately-managed infrastructure development company financed by funds from several European countries (and which acted as the main developer of the project), the Government of Cabo Verde, through the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Energy, and Electra SARL, the local electricity concessionary company.
The goal of the PPP was the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of four wind farms in Cabo Verde, with a total installed capacity of 25.5 MW, distributed among the islands of Santiago (9.35 MW), São Vicente (5.95 MW), Sal (7.65 MW) and Boa Vista (2.55 MW).
As such, the company’s main objective is the production of electricity for the national grid as an independent producer using non-polluting, renewable and naturally abundant wind energy.
The Next Year
In 2010, the Africa Finance Corporation, a Nigeria-based Pan-African development finance institution, and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, a Finnish industrial development institution, began participating in Cabeólica as strategic partners of reference, and as majority investors.
Also in 2010, with the long-term loans guaranteed from the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank, Cabeólica signed an integral engineering, construction and procurement contract with Vestas ®, one of the leading manufacturers of wind turbines worldwide. The contract ensured the construction of four wind farms equipped with a total of 30 V52-850 kW wind turbines and their respective substations, access roads and transmission lines.
Construction work on the wind farms began in December of 2010.
Conclusion of Two Wind Farms
The year 2011 was marked by the conclusion of the first two wind farms – those on the islands of Santiago and São Vicente.
The first to be concluded was the Santiago wind farm, which began injecting electricity into the grid in a test phase in September of 2011. The takeover certificate was signed on December 28, 2011, on which date Cabeólica definitively took over operation of the wind farm. The official inauguration ceremony was presided over by the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves, and Cabeólica Chairman of the Board, Oliver Andrews, on October 21, 2011.
Towards the end of the year, construction concluded on the São Vicente wind farm, which began injecting electricity into the grid in a test phase in October of 2011, with the takeover certificate signed on December 28, 2011, on which date Cabeólica definitively took over operation. The inauguration ceremony of the São Vicente wind farm was also presided over by Cabo Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves and by Fabio Borba, the vice-president of the shareholder InfraCo, on November 11, 2011.
During this year, Cabeólica also garnered its first international recognition, receiving the award for Best Renewable Energy Project in Africa at the Africa Energy Awards.
Two More Wind Farms
July 2012 saw the conclusion of the construction phase of the wind farms, with the operational phase, which is expected to continue over the next 20 years, having also begun that year.
The Sal wind farm began injecting electricity into the grid in a test phase before the end of 2011, however, the takeover certificate was signed on February 17, 2012, on which date Cabeólica definitively took over operation. The wind farm was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves, and by Cabeólica Board Director, Richard Perry, on February 28, 2012.
The last wind farm to be concluded was Boa Vista, whose takeover certificate was signed on July 18, 2012. The Boa Vista wind farm’s inauguration ceremony was presided over by Cabo Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves and by Cabeólica CEO, Herkko Lehdonvirta, on April 20, 2012.
In 2013, the company overcame the last of the barriers it had faced in the construction of the wind farms and celebrated its first full year with all four wind farms fully operational.
Cabeólica began to contribute considerably to the implementation of Cabo Verde’s national policy of reducing the country’s dependency on imported fossil fuels, increasing the production of energy from the wind farms, which represented 20% of all electricity distributed in the country’s grid in 2013.
This year was also marked by the attribution of the Ashden Award for Small Island Developing States, with the support of the World Bank and SIDS, as well as by Cabeólica’s recognition as one of the best public-private partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa by the International Finance Corporation and the Infrastructure Journal. The company was also a finalist in the AfriCAN Climate Good Practice awards, and Cabeólica’s case study was published as an example of best practices on the AfriCAN Climate website.
The Year of Consolidation
In 2014 Cabeólica maintained its status as the first commercial-scale wind energy PPP in Sub-Saharan Africa and the main player in the unleashing of an important change in the national energy sector, with its share of the total amount of electricity produced in the country reaching 24%.
In May 2014, Cabeólica received the award for best clean energy project at the first edition of the Green Project Awards gala in Cabo Verde, in the category of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. This was the first Cabo Verdean award received by the company, following its distinctions at the international level.
Sale of Carbon Credits
In 2015, Cabeólica proceeded for the first time with the sale of its carbon credits (CERs) within the international market.
That year, during the global negotiations related to climate change, Cabo Verde signed the terms of the Paris Agreement and submitted its INDC, committing itself to completely reducing its emission of CO2 equivalent in the production of electricity by 2025. Cabeólica is currently the local company that contributes most to this objective by being the main producer of renewable energy in Cabo Verde.
Also in 2015, the company reached an important milestone: Sal’s wind farm broke the record for monthly wind energy penetration in the grid, contributing 55% of total electricity produced on the island.
Five Years Producing Clean Energy
Cabeólica completed 5 years of clean energy production in Cabo Verde. With 4 wind farms in full operation, the company’s positive performance was important for the country and the region, earning it several international and domestic awards and distinctions.
In 2016, Cabeólica changed its shareholder composition with InfraCo Africa Limited transferring its shares to AFC Equity Investments Limited.
2016 was also the year in which the EOLO program “We Are Energy” reached the most 4th grade children: 64 classes in 28 schools were visited, totaling 1,737 students. This program is focused on teaching the sources of renewable energy as well as energy efficiency practices, and is introduced in schools with the support of the Ministry of Education and Sport.
Cabeólica initiated the year by promoting a debate regarding the performance and impact of Cabeólica following its five years of full operation as well as the importance of consistent renewable energy projects. With different international actors, incluiding various high-level government officials, there was a consensus regarding the importance of projects such as Cabeólica to reach the goals that were defined by Cape Verde.
The seminar also addressed the contribution of the Cabeólica’s model in the context of ECOWAS as well as the impact it has generated on the electricity supply.