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Senegal: USTDA grant for Lekela battery project


29 Sep 2020

The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced on 28 September that it has awarded a grant to renewable energy developer Lekela and partner national utility Société Nationale d’Electricité du Sénégal (Senelec) to carry out a ten-month study for a utility-scale battery plant in Senegal. The facility will help Senelec manage the impact of Lekela’s 158.7MW Taïba N’Diaye wind power project, which is partially online with full commissioning delayed due to Covid-19.

Lekela has been pursuing a battery project to complement the plant for some time. The battery system will help smooth the generation profile of the plant, reducing the need to curtail either Taïba or the country’s thermal plants. The study will look at technical, economic, legal, and environmental aspects of the project.

“If successful, this project has the potential to catapult Senegal to the forefront of renewable energy usage in modern day grids”, Lekela chief executive Chris Antonopoulos said. “Wind power has been deployed for decades in some countries, yet only months after turning on Senegal’s first ever wind farm, we are now investigating how to integrate battery storage to the site. This is the logical next step to utilise wind and solar and bring clean, cheap power to Senegal’s citizens.”

Taïba will account for more than 10% of Senegal’s installed capacity once fully online. While the country has substantial thermal capacity, these plants are contracted to operate at close to full capacity and there is limited spinning reserve. Without increased spinning reserve or storage and frequency regulation, Senegal’s impressive pipeline of renewable energy projects will face significant curtailment once they begin operating.

 

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