In order to convincingly promote installing wind power capacity as a substantial part of the energy supply system, a set of careful analyses must be undertaken. This paper applies a case study concentrated on assessing the cost/benefit of high wind energy penetration. The case study considers expanding the grid connected wind power capacity in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. The currently installed 1 MW of wind power is estimated to supply close to 10% of the electric energy consumption in 1996. Increasing the wind energy penetration to a higher level is considered viable as the project settings are close to ideal, including a very capable national utility company, Electra, a conventional power supply system based on imported heavy fuel and gas oil, and favourable wind conditions with an estimated annual average of 9.3 m/s at the hub height of the wind turbines. With the applied case study assumptions, simulations with WINSYS over the lifetime of the assessed wind power investment show that investments up to 4.2 MW are economically viable. The economic optimum is found at 2.4 MW reaching an internal rate of return of almost 8% p.a. This 2.4 MW of wind power would, together with the existing wind power, supply over 30% of the electric consumption in 1996. Applying the recommended practices for estimating the cost of wind energy, the life-cycle cost of this 2.4 MW investment is estimated at a 7% discount rate and a 20 year lifetime to 0.26 DKK/kW h. © 1995.