Salkhit Wind Farm: Mongolia


Located 40 miles south east of Mongolia’s capitol, Ulan Bator, sits the almost completed Salkhit Wind Farm. Mongolia is blessed with both a huge amount of coal as well as wind energy. Its rapidly growing economy and quickly urbanizing population desperately needs more energy but so far only the most polluting forms of energy production have been available. UB is considered the second most polluted city in the world and the resulting adverse health effects are already being seen. Fortunately, Mongolia’s wind resources are incredibly abundant and even Salkhit will have a significant positive impact on the UB’s pollution problem. It’s projected that this wind farm alone will cut CO2 emissions by 200,000 tons, save 2 million tons of fresh water and reduce coal usage by 160,000 tons annually.  My assignment from FMO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was to photograph the early stages of the Salkhit project. My photography documents the Mongolian and foreign team of workers and professionals who were attempting to complete the construction before the harsh Mongolian winter sets in. Even in my short stay of two days I felt the gargantuan task that these men and women faced. They were under pressure and the challenges though not unsurmountable were compounded by remoteness of the site as well as the need for an international team to learn how to work together. Just as I was leaving the site I was able to see the giant blades of the second turbine hoisted in air. Still a long way to go but progress none the less. The farm will be completed by July 2013.