Sudan’s first wind turbine crosses the Sahara

The first wind turbine in Sudan will provide power to 14,000 people. It will also demonstrate the potential for sustainable energy generation in Africa’s third-largest nation. Tractebel is providing support for the tendering process and implementation.

Nearly half the population of Sudan does not have access to energy. This is set to change. A new pilot project in the north of the country will improve its development prospects and also demonstrate the potential for renewable energies at the same time: The Sudanese Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity, with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Global Environments Facility (GEF), initiated Sudan’s first wind energy project (WEPSD).

The project targets an assessment of nationwide wind resources and the installation of a pilot wind turbine to demonstrate the feasibility of wind turbines as a suitable technology for the region. Wind measurements carried out over recent years in the north of Sudan and at the Red Sea have shown that good conditions for the generation of wind energy can be expected in these regions. Wind speeds of over 8.5 meters per second at 80 m above the ground are likely. Our teams of experts have been active in the country for a total of more than 35 years and have unique knowledge of the Sudanese wind energy sector. They were therefore asked to provide expert support for the project on behalf of the UNDP.

Project preparation and supervision

Our specialists prepared and launched the tendering process for the wind turbine supply and installation in 2019. In the first quarter of 2020 they negotiated the contract with the turbine supplier which was signed in April. This was followed by the contracting of the balance of plant works. In December 2020, the on-site works commenced under supervision of our experts.

The 63m-tall wind turbine started its 19-day, 4,600 km journey from Antwerp, Belgium to Sudan in May. The turbine sailed to Port Sudan, crossed the Sahara and ended near the town of Dongola in the north of Sudan. Erection of the turbine is expected there in the autumn of 2021, once the foundation works are completed. The wind turbine is expected to be operational before the end of 2021.

The turbine completed its desert crossing and arrived at the construction site mid-June 2021.

Find out more about Sudan’s first wind turbine and witness its journey across the desert in this video:

“Twenty years after we started with the assessment of the wind resources in the country, the first project is going to be implemented. We are delighted that Sudan has followed our recommendations and are grateful for the trust placed in us. We are glad to contribute to improving the living conditions of many people and to opening up opportunities for economic development – especially when this is achieved with renerewble energy.” – Matthias Drosch, Team Leader, Owner’s Engineer –  Renewable / Wind Energy.