Seychelles Islands switches on first-ever wind farm

Seychelles, a country consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is adopting its first-ever wind farm to generate renewable energy. This new facility to produce electricity from wind will generate six megawayts (MW) of power, enough to supply the needs of 2,000 homes in the nation of 86,000 people. When complete, the project will supply about eight percent of the electrical demands of yhe nation's most populous island, Mahe, which contains 90 percent of the country's population.

The new facility, with eight turbines to generate electricity, was turned on for the first time June 17. This is the first-ever renewable energy project on the island nation of Seychelles. The wind farm is spread over two islands, connected by 1.8 miles of undersea cables. These turbines are specially-designed to generate electricity even at lower wind speeds, and to resist the effects of corrosion from salt water and humidity.

The Port Victoria Wind Farm is part of the government's drive to replace the dirty diesel power which currently generate much of the electricity needed for the island nation. The government of the island nation has a goal of supplying 15 percent of their electrical needs by renewable means.

Fuel currently accounts for 25 percent of the Republic of Seychelles. The new renewable energy plant is estimated to replace 423,000 gallons a year of diesel fuel, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air each year by 5,500 tons.

"The addition of wind power is a major step toward meeting our clean energy targets and reducing our dependency on imported sources of power," James Michel, the country's president, said.

As sea levels rise, low-lying islands like the Seychelles will be affected to the greatest extent, with the beaches, which bring in much-needed income from tourists, becoming an early casualty.

Ironically, the island nation turned to a Middle-Eastern country to help them reduce their need for fossil fuels - Masdar, a renewable energy company in the oil-rich nation of Abu Dhabi. A subsidiary of the Mubedala Development Company, Masdar has $15 billion dollars in contracts guaranteed to it by the Abu Dhabi government.

"The 6MW wind farm that has been successfully delivered by Masdar... will help us meet our rising demand for energy and also liberates [our] budget to invest in economic and social growth opportunities," Michel said.

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