After looking at Sudan Wind Power from past experiences to future potential, Musadag is laying out for us in this article key elements to consider when planning for a wind project. The main points are:
- Employing and Abiding to the respective policies
- Addressing Stakeholders’ concerns
- Stakeholders’ involvement
- The Backing of the Decision Makers in The Sudan
- Learning from the neighbours (Kenya)
Do read and expand your knowledge
When looking at building up the Wind Power sector in Sudan, there are key elemets to take into consideration:
Employing and Abiding to the respective policies
One good start where both Sudan decision makers (e.g. government) and any respective stakeholder may want to begin with and adopt for any potential Wind Power project, would be the Planning Policy Statement 18 “Renewable Energy” (PPS 18). The objectives of the policy involves:
Ensuring environmental, landscape, visual and amenity impacts of renewable energy development are adequately addressed
Ensuring adequate protection of the region’s built and natural, and cultural heritage features
Facilitating the integration of renewable energy technology into the design, siting and layout of new development.
PPS 18 provides more specific criteria with regards to wind energy development. These criteria could act as a base for any potential projects in the Sudan.
According to PPS 18, certain criteria/issues need be achieved and addressed prior to any application of any wind energy development in an area. Few key ones worth mentioning here include:
- The development will not have any an unacceptable impacts on visual amenity or landscape character through: the number, scale, size and siting of turbines;
- The cumulative impact of existing and proposed wind turbines are taken into account;
- No part of the development will have an unacceptable impact on roads, rail or aviation safety
- The development will not cause significant harm to the safety or amenity of any “sensitive receptors” through noise; shadow flicker; ice throw; and reflected light (“sensitive receptors” are: habitable residential accommodation including future residents, hospitals, schools and churches)
- Wind farms to be separated from any occupied property by a distance of 10 times the rotor diameter of the wind turbines (and be at least 500 m away).
Addressing Stakeholders’ concerns
Addressing stakeholder’s concerns a an early stage would always be beneficial since this can certainly save time, efforts and help avoid conflicts down the process.
No matter how beneficial a project development can be, there will always be concerns raised by the stakeholders. Typical concerns that one can imagine being raised by stakeholders (mainly local habitants) in the Sudan could be:
- Increase in accidents related to the siting, installation and operation of the wind turbines
- Loss of grazing land for livestock (especially in areas where nomads tend to wonder and settle)
- Ownership of land/turbines, rental contracts and compensations if any.
- Having foreign labour intrusion into the area may result into conflicts (culture conflicts etc).
It is important that all stakeholders are equally valued and acknowledged by the government and concerned developers. Non Government Organizations (NGOs), local community representatives and various other environmental and social organizations shall always be invited and listened to during the initial stages of any development. Addressing issues and concerns raised by any of the stakeholders at early stages would definitely help prevent conflicts, complications, extra costs and nevertheless delays to the project.
Participatory approach and interaction between the various stakeholders can take different shapes and forms depending what suits best. Holding formal or public meetings, debates, conducting questionnaires and carrying out focus group discussions are all forms which can be used.
In addition to the collective involvement of stakeholders, it is quite important that results concluded for instance from a conducted Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) or other surveys; are always shared with the public, concerned habitants and nevertheless all stakeholders. A good example of this was noted in Lake Turkana Project, where draft copies of the ESIA were made available to the public for three weeks for any comments or suggestions.
On top of this, the Lake Turkana Wind Project (LTWP) company developed a Community Engagement Plan (CEP) and information disclosure programme in the project’s vicinity. Stakeholder disclosure pamphlets have been translated and distributed in the entire project area (including the associated transmission line route). Such initiatives and methods would without doubt increase the transparency and consequently the trust amongst the stakeholders.
The Backing of the Decision Makers in The Sudan
Following are few action plans (with ones derived from the International Renewable Energy Agency-IRENA) that The Sudan (represented by it’s decision makers) should consider should it wish to promote wind power’s diffusion in the country:
- Adopting investment promotion measures to attract both domestic and foreign investors to support wind energy diffusion
- Promoting off-grid systems solutions (e.g. stand-alone PV wind systems etc.) which play significant role in improving access to modern energy and consequently poverty reduction
- Introducing dedicated policy and regulatory frameworks that incentivise the private sector, foster innovation in business and financing models, and create enabling conditions for scale-up and replication.
- Establishing an institutional framework that enhances dialogue and coordination between different stakeholders involved, in order to improve clarity and define roles and responsibilities for off-grid electrification initiatives.
- Promoting cooperation between the locals, government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
- Holding regular workshops and trainings to ensure adequate levels of education are being achieved.
Introducing renewable energy science with into institutional systems (e.g. schools, government news and media etc).
Learning from the neighbors (Kenya)
As discussed earlier, Sudan’s past experience with wind energy has been quite limited however not far away, in Kenya, more specifically in Lake Turkana Wind Farm project-the largest wind farm project in the African continent, many good practices and examples can be learnt from and referred to for any of Sudan’s future projects.
Although not many details have been available or closely studied about the nature of earlier mentioned high wind potential sites in The Sudan with regards to any wind development; however many policies and strategies being initiated in the neighboring country Kenya could actually be very helpful and somehow align with the Sudanese sites conditions, requirements and nevertheless opposing interests. However, site specifics and exact requirements can only be identified through a detailed comprehensive Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) carried on the targeted potential site.
Sudan may truly have huge potentials from available wind resources and with further studies and surveys the optimum sites either for electricity generation or wind mechanical pumping could easily be located.
Learning from the neighboring Kenya through the LTWP project would be a great chance for the Sudan and its potential sites. Both policies and strategies set by the LTWP may serve as a solid guideline for the Sudanese wind development projects.
Having enough enabling wind policies, proper planning and permission processes fully supported by all stakeholders under a cooperative and transparent umbrella would be the ultimate key for the success of any of Sudan’s wind power development projects.
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
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
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
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)