Other leading firms in the wind-energy expansion spree on the continent are France’s Innovent, which has 300 MW in Namibia; the Netherland’s KP&P Holding BV, which has 200 MW in Kenya; Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, which has 200 MW in Egypt; Spain’s Iberdola, which has 160 MW in South Africa, and Italy’s Italgen, which has 120 MW in Egypt.

Africa public utilities and private developers also have joined in the scramble for a share of the region’s wind-energy market. They include Red Cap Investments (277.6 MW) and Exxaro (140 MW), both in South Africa, and public utility Ethiopia Electric Power Corp. (180 MW) in Ethiopia.

Although South Africa has an unimpressive installed wind-energy capacity of 10 MW, the country is in the middle of implementing a 20-year integrated resource plan, the objective of which is to generate an additional 3,723 MW from renewable resources by 2030.

Totaling 1,196.5 MW of combined capacity, 15 wind projects have been approved by South Africa’s department of energy for construction under the so-called renewable-energy independent-power-producer programme (REIPPP). Totaling 634 MW of combined capacity, the first eight projects are at different stages of implementation and have signed power-purchase agreements with the government. They are expected to be completed and connected to the national grid by the end of 2013.

The remaining seven projects, which were approved a few weeks ago, have until June to reach a financial close, according to Energy Minister Dipuo Peters. 

Cookhouse Wind Farm in Eastern Cape, 150 kilometers northeast of Port Elizabeth, is the largest of the eight wind projects that have been approved in the first round of the REIPPP.

A 138.6-MW wind project, being developed by Indian wind-turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy in partnership with African Clean Energy Development, inched closer to the final phase early in April when the first batch of 16 wind-turbine blades, each 44-meter-long, docked at the South African port of Ngqura.

“The successful implementation of the project will not only result in a cleaner energy base for South Africa but will help to empower rural communities through job creation and community ownership of projects,” said Thomas Donnelly, managing director at African Clean Energy Development.

Suzlon was awarded a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract to perform operations and maintenance of the project. The wind-turbine manufacturer plans to install 66 of its S88 turbines at the wind farm by the second quarter of 2014. The 2.1-MW unuts are designed for mid-speed wind velocities.

April also saw the largest planned wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, make progress after the country’s power transmission company, Kenya Electricity Transmission Co., signed a $186-million contract with Spain’s Isolax Corsan to construct 428 km of 400-kV transmission lines to deliver the wind farm's generated electricity.