Up to 17 GW of new wind capacity is projected to come online in Africa and the Middle East over the next five years, owing largely to new installations across North Africa and Saudi Arabia as well as projects from South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPPP) program’s Bid Window 5 coming online.
The Global Wind Energy Council in its 2023 Global Wind Report states that GW-scale projects currently being built in North Africa, Saudi Arabia and South Africa will result in annual growth of 5 GW in 2026 and 2027, with 17 GW expected to be added between 2023 and 2027.
Of the 17 GW, the report suggests that 5.3 GW is anticipated to come from South Africa, 3.6 GW from Egypt, 2.2 GW from Morocco while 2.4 GW will come online in Saudi Arabia.
Egypt has emerged as a wind installation market to watch, with the country announcing GW-scale projects during last year’s COP27. One of the biggest developments is the Green Corridor Initiative – a separate electricity grid aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy to 42% of the energy mix by 2035 – which comprises two 10 GW onshore wind farms. The country is on track to bring online 1 GW of added wind capacity per year from 2027, culminating in more than 8 GW of capacity by 2030.
While Africa and the Middle East witnessed a record year in new installations in 2021, only 453 MW of wind power was connected in 2022, representing the lowest level since 2013. These levels were largely due to delays in the awarding of onshore wind projects from REIPPP’s Bid Window 5 as well as no new capacity being awarded in Bid Window 6 – launched in 2022.
However, the report suggests that annual growth in wind installations is expected to bounce back this year and beyond as nations capitalize on rapidly increasing demand, the energy transition as well as low costs associated with renewable technologies.