Mainstream Renewables pumps US$1.9bn in funding for African clean energy

17 Feb 2015

Windmill image via Lollie-Pop/Flickr

Irish company Mainstream Renewables is continuing its expansion in Africa following its launch of a pan-African renewable energy generation platform it has formed with venture-capital firm Actis worth US$1.9bn.

Known as Lekela Power, the platform is expected to provide between 700MW and 900MW of wind and solar energy across the continent by 2018.

Both Mainstream Renewable and Actis have collaborated a number of times before on similar continental projects in both South Africa and Chile and it is understood that this newly-created Lekela Power will have the Irish company overseeing its project management, operations and maintenance of its power plants.

Only last week Mainstream Renewables closed finances on the construction of three wind farms in South Africa, which are believed to be forming the core output of Lekela Power with a combined capacity of 260MW on the country’s northern cape starting in 2016.

Likewise, Lekela Power is expected to take up the mantle of Mainstream Renewable’s future projects, including the 225MW wind project due to be built in Ayitepa in Ghana.

Commenting on Lekela Power, partner and head of renewable energy at Actis, Lucy Heintz, said, “With soaring demand and funding constraints, Africa’s need for renewable energy is pressing. In South Africa for example, currently 95pc of the country’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power stations.

“While the region has significant natural and fossil fuel resources, a lack of long-term investment has led to a reliance on emergency and short-term diesel generation.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic