Sudan’s Wind power – Past Experience, Existing Potential and Means forward

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Sudan’s Wind power – Past Experience, Existing Potential and Means forward
Sudan’s Wind power – Past Experience, Existing Potential and Means forward

Quick Summary

Following our introduction into Sudan’s Renewable Energy, we are carrying on with insights on a promising sector. In this fantastic article, Musadag is exploring the Wind Energy industry in Sudan and is raising three main points:

  • Past experience
  • Wind energy potential
  • Challenges faced by developers and stakeholders

Do take the time to read and learn.

ARTICLE

Like many other renewable energy sources, wind power can play a significant role in meeting the electricity demands of a country, support its economic development and nevertheless help reduce and mitigate its carbon emissions. For a country like The Sudan, where most people obtain their needed energy from firewood, the role of wind energy within Sudan’s energy sector could be vital.

Past Experience

So far wind energy has not been significantly exploited in The Sudan. Use of wind energy goes back to the 1950’s, where 250 wind pumps provided by the Australian government were installed at El Gezira Agricultural Scheme. Due to the high competition from the relatively cheap diesel pumps and lack of spare parts at the time, these pumps gradually disappeared from the service. The situation did not change much since then. In the last two decades, the Energy Research Institute (ERI) installed 15 Consultancy Services Wind Energy Developing Countries (CWD) wind pumps, each 5000 mm in diameter around three states, including the capital Khartoum. Another 60 wind pumps to be used in water pumping were to be introduced through a cooperation between the Sudanese Agricultural Bank (SAB) and the ERI, however due to lack of financial support, the pumps were not manufactured.

But question is, do we have high wind energy potential in The Sudan?

Though Sudan’s past experience with wind power industry has not been successful or strictly speaking has not been exploited properly, the country still has very promising potential for using wind energy.

A wind measurement campaign in year 2002 investigated and identified the feasibility of electrical power generation by wind energy. Subsequent wind measurements have concluded that The Sudan has considerable wind energy sources. The study also identified three principal sites as having high wind energy potential. Marked with red ovals as shown in below map, these include The Darfur region, The Northern State and The Red Sea coast.

The wind mean speed at 50m height in The Sudan varies between 5.1 to 7.1 m/s. Whereas in the high wind potential areas (i.e. Darfur, The Northern State and the Red Sea coast), wind speeds reach up to 7.1m/s at 50 m altitude.  Most other areas in the country with similar altitude reach nearly to 5.9m/s.

Wind In Sudan Pic 1 - Sudan’s Wind power – Past Experience, Existing Potential and Means forward
Figure 1 – Calculated annual average wind speed at 50 m height in Sudan (Red ovals show areas with the highest potential)

With the average of electrification rate in Sudan being only 35%, the country still has great opportunity to exploit wind power to supply electricity to the remote areas through off-grid systems.

In addition to the generation of electricity, a number of conducted studies over wind pump systems in The Sudan have concluded to the huge potential these pumps can play in fulfilling the water lifting needs both in the capital Khartoum and the rural areas for both irrigated agriculture and water supply.

So what sort of Challenges could face developers or stakeholders in The Sudan when it comes to wind power adoption?

Sudan may have huge potentials in using the available rich wind resources it possesses, however in order to turn this potential into a reality and a success story, overcoming many challenges becomes a necessity. Some typical key potential barriers that would definitely need be addressed at some point down the process of wind technology application, include the following:

  • Lack of consistent policies
  • Unstandardized and time-consuming regulatory and permitting processes
  • Concerns of utilities related to integration of distributed or variable power on the grid
  • Public concerns related to visual, sound, land use, and other environmental impacts that may be associated with wind
  • Security in areas of interest (this can be an issue in the western region of The Sudan)
  • Need for post-installation and ongoing skilled labor for turbine maintenance.

Other than the above mentioned challenges, Sudan in particular would need to exert more efforts simply because the country has so far been limited only to small-scale mechanical (wind) water pumping and nevertheless the country has no experience in applications of wind turbines at any scale for the generation of electricity.

Understanding the planning and operational requirements of wind power is a key step for The Sudan in order to employ right policies and choices that would promote wind energy development in the country’s promising sites. In the second part of this article, we shall look at few key elements that can assist both developers and stakeholders in tackling these inevitable challenges.

Wind Potential in Sudan Pic2 - Sudan’s Wind power – Past Experience, Existing Potential and Means forward
Figure 2 – Puzzle to solve

Sources

Sources:

Clean Energy Solutions Center: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/64177.pdf 

Construction Review Online: https://constructionreviewonline.com/2020/02/google-cancels-plans-to-buy-into-kenyas-lake-turkana-power-project/

E3 Journal of Environmental Research and Management Management: http://www.e3journals.org/cms/articles/1438505970_Mustafa%20Omer.pdf

Guide:.https://www.communityplaces.info/sites/default/files/Wind%20Turbines%20and%20Wind%20Farms%2C%20Guide%20to%20Planning%20Policies%2C%20Jan%2015.pdf

IRENA:https://www.irena.org//media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2015/IRENA_Offgrid_Renewable_Systems_WP_2015.pdf

Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainable Development:. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.897.4837&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Kenya: African Development Bank Group: http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Environmental-and-SocialAssessments/Kenya%20-%20Lake%20Turkana%20Wind%20Power%20Project%20%20ESIA%20Summary.pdf

Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/wind-energy-electricity-4112066/

Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/sudan-flag-fingerprint-country-653058/

Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/rubik-cube-game-sand-strategy-1703600/

Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/vectors/question-mark-background-red-4375860/

United Nations Development Programme: https://www.thegef.org/project/promoting-utility-scale-power-generation-wind-energy   

University of Khartoum Engineering Journal: http://www.e3journals.org/cms/articles/1438505970_Mustafa%20Omer.pdf

Worldatlas: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-do-the-colors-and-symbols-of-the-flag-of-sudan-mean.html

Author:

Musadag El Zein - Sudan’s Wind power – Past Experience, Existing Potential and Means forward

Eng. Musadag El Zein is a project manager at African European Development Agency. Musadag is also a key member of the blog: Clean Energy 4 Africa.

Musadag expertise is well represented by the degrees he has collected:

MSc Sustainable Development (Sweden)
MSc Candidate Environmental Science – Energy & Technology (Sweden)
BSc Wind Power Project Management (Sweden)
BSc Chemical Engineering (Germany)

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