The Cabinet of the beautiful island nation of Maldives last month set a precedent of commitment to save environment when the full cabinet convened for a underwater session to sign off a resolution to urge the global community to curb carbon emission. Some felt that it was a one-off trick pulled to attract attention but the ministry led by President Mohammad Nasheed, has now added action to the words.
The Gaafaru wind farm project inaugurated by the Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed on Monday includes 30 turbines and is expected to provide the nation with 75 MW of power, powering the capital city Male, the international airport island of Hulhule’ and a number of luxury tourist resorts. The project has been installed at a cost of estimated USD 200-million funded by foreign direct investments.
Maldives has set a goal to be a carbon neutral nation by 2020 and with the commissioning of the current project carbon emissions are expected to go down by as much as 25%. Being a small island nation, Maldives receives consistent winds throughout the year. The excess electricity generated by the turbines on windy days will be used to run a water desalination plant, which will produce bottled drinking water. On the days when there are considerably low winds, a liquefied natural gas plant will provide the plant a 50MW back-up power.
State Electric Company Limited, STELCO, signed a 20-year agreement with Falcon Energy on Monday, whereby Falcon Energy will build and operate a 75 megawatt wind farm in Gaafaru island, North Male’ atoll. The $200 million foreign direct investment will see the construction of the latest generation wind turbines, which will be connected to the electricity grid of Male’ through a network of submarine electricity cables.
Falcon in partnership with WGS has previously commissioned onshore and offshore wind farms totaling 1,500 MW over the past ten years, in Britain, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Canada.
The president addressing the ceremony reiterated his belief that the winners of the 21st century would be “the countries who were ready to embrace renewable energy and green technologies.“
“We want the Maldives to be the place to test renewables. We want the Maldives to be the place to build renewables. We want the Maldives to be the place to invest in renewables. We will position the Maldives as a showcase for renewable energy,” said the president.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change In 2007 had warned that an increase in sea levels of just 18 to 59 centimeters (7 to 24 inches) would make Maldives almost uninhabitable by 2100. Less than 20% the this tiny nation, which is famed for its tourist attractions due to its coral reefs and white-sand beaches, is less than a metre (3.3 feet) above sea level.