x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Abu Dhabi blows hot for Seychelles power

Work has started on an Abu Dhabi-funded wind farm in the Seychelles. The eight-turbine, 6-megawatt wind farm will constitute 11 per cent of installed electricity capacity on the archipelago's main island.

Ste Anne Marine Park in the Seychelles. Masdar has awarded the South Korean company Unison the contract to build the wind farm in the archipelago. Raymond Sahuquet / Seychelles Tourism Board
Ste Anne Marine Park in the Seychelles. Masdar has awarded the South Korean company Unison the contract to build the wind farm in the archipelago. Raymond Sahuquet / Seychelles Tourism Board

Work has started on an Abu Dhabi-funded wind farm in the Seychelles.

The eight-turbine, 6-megawatt wind farm, the Seychelles' first major renewable-energy project, will constitute 11 per cent of installed electricity capacity on the archipelago's main island, Mahé.

Representatives of the farm's financial backer, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), and the project manager, Masdar, helped to lay the foundation stone at a ceremony in Port Victoria, the capital city, on Thursday.

Mohammed Al Suwaidi,the acting director general of the ADFD, said the project aligned with the fund's commitment to support sustainable economic projects in developing countries.

"Although Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has been active in the Seychelles for over three decades, this project is a very special one as it will help in achieving the Millennium [Development] Goals of ensuring environmental sustainability by utilising the renewable wind energy to meet the vital demand for electricity," he said.

The new partnership is evidence of increasing cooperation between the two countries.

In January, Etihad Airways agreed to invest US$20 million (Dh73.4m) for a 40 per cent stake in Air Seychelles.

Abu Dhabi's clean-energy company Masdar, which will act as the project manager on behalf of the Seychelles government and the ADFD, has awarded the South Korean company Unison the contract to build the wind farm. Five turbines will be located on Romainville Island with the remaining three at Ile du Port.

"We are delighted to launch this project, which strengthens the long-standing relationship between the UAE and Seychelles and exemplifies the importance of collaboration and partnership by leveraging resources and technical expertise to deliver vital renewable-energy project in areas of need," said Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar.

"The UAE leadership is committed to building bridges with developed and developing nations alike - and it is this far-reaching vision that enables us to continue to progress in supporting the development and deployment of renewable-energy technologies worldwide," he said.

The Seychelles' state-owned Public Utilities Corporation will take over the ownership, running and maintenance of the wind farm once it is complete.

Joel Morgan, who has portfolio responsibility for energy in the Seychelles, said the announcement was the culmination of two years of close collaboration between Masdar and the Seychelles Energy Commission.

gduncan@thenational.ae

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