Somalia is embracing new innovation to generate renewable energy by launching its first solar and wind powered energy plant.
The energy plant located in the north eastern part of the country currently produces 3.5MW of energy but engineers say it has the potential to reach up to 450KW.
Founded in 2003 to cater for small business using fuel system , this thriving industry previously charged $0.97 per kilowatts – but with the inclusion of solar and wind energy it now charges $0.79, a reduction of 17% boosting business in the city.
“Together with our investors and we all agreed that we can no longer continue using fuel system that was quite expensive then. We thought of the alternatives and we realized we have vast natural’s resources to create energy – mainly wind and sun – we brought experts and set up this major.”Abdifatah Mohamed Abdi, the chairperson of National Electric Company said.
The company has only one female engineer who controls and monitors the entire system as energy from solar and wind turbines are stored in the energy storage system for distribution to more than 13,000 clients all across the city.
“We have three wind turbines each generating 250 kilowatts per hours – so at one given time all three generate 750 kilowatts per hour – we have battery storage to store energy when we receive much energy from wind and our solar panels to discharge to our clients”. Saida Hassan Aden said.
Company’s officials say the success of this pilot project can now be extended to other regions of the country in Mogadishu. Private companies charge high prices for power supply with majority relying on fuel.
“We began the wind energy project in 2017 – we’ve successfully completed the pilot project. I recommend this success can be implemented to other regions of the country. We are the second country in Africa after South Africa to have fuel, solar and wind energy being stored together in our power generation plant.” Abdi said.
Return of diaspora has also seen an increase in new business ventures among them downtown restaurants like this one that attracts mainly working class and young people.
The city in northern Somalia is lit thanks to solar and wind energy. Business is also booming in this rapidly growing city due to reduced cost of energy and improved security, with most businesses and restaurants such as this one remaining open until midnight.
The region is stable compared to the rest of the country with a population of close to 400,000 people.
With many promising wind sites, abundant sunshine, than can produce solar and wind power experts say that this latest example can help address the country’s total energy needs.