ABB partners with Vestas to electrify off-grid communities in Africa

New partnership agreement combines low cost wind-diesel generation and reliable ABB microgrid systems

Zurich, Switzerland, Oct. 20, 2014 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, and global wind energy company Vestas today signed a partnership agreement whereby they will contribute with their respective technologies to help rural communities in developing markets gain access to affordable clean electricity.

The two companies will jointly deliver power technology and system integration solutions for remote off-grid and microgrid communities. Under the agreement, factory-refurbished Vestas wind turbines will be combined with ABB microgrid power stabilization solutions to create hybrid generation systems well-suited to operate in remote locations with limited infrastructure.

The project is part of Vestas’ Wind for Prosperity initiative, a commercially-based business model designed to bring affordable, reliable and stable wind-generated electricity systems to rural populations in developing countries. It was announced at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Copenhagen, an event hosted by the Danish government.

“We are proud to partner in the Wind for Prosperity development program,” said Claudio Facchin, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “We are committed to help remote communities benefit from clean wind energy and stable power delivery. ABB's proven microgrid technology will increase use of renewable energy while reducing costs for fossil fuels and ensuring utility-grade power quality.”

ABB is a technology leader in microgrid solutions with more than 80 references around the world, providing electricity access to off-grid communities, mitigating the consumption of fossil fuels and enabling the integration of renewables to lower environmental impact.

Wind for Prosperity is an opportunity for business, government, and financial institutions to improve lives and generate risk-adjusted returns for private investors. The initiative is focusing initially on rural Kenya, where 13 communities that are home to more than 200,000 people have been identified as potential project areas. Planning is being coordinated with the Kenyan Ministry of Energy, the Kenya Power and Light Company, and other government agencies. The scheme is expected to supply electricity at significantly lower cost than diesel-only power production.

“The Vestas-ABB collaboration on Wind for Prosperity is a significant step forward in bringing these projects to life,” says Morten Albæk, Vestas Group Senior Vice President. "The agreement we announced today unites each company’s technological expertise to create a combined solution for exactly the type of off-grid and micro-grid wind-diesel hybrid power generation systems that we envision for Wind for Prosperity.”

In addition to Africa, Wind for Prosperity partners are also exploring potential projects in other geographies with similar needs. The initiative plans to install hybrid power generation systems in 100 communities reaching at least one million people in the next three years.

ABB's microgrid is a small, self-sufficient power grid able to provide stable, utility-grade power to self-contained entities like a municipality, communities and private users (buildings, residences, home), university campus, military base, industrial or mine site.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.

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