Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited, KenGen is the leading electric power generation company in Kenya, producing about 80 percent of electricity consumed in the country. The company utilises various sources to generate electricity ranging from hydro, geothermal, thermal and wind energy. Hydro is the leading source, with an installed capacity of 677.3MW, which is 72.3 per cent of the company’s installed capacity.
KenGen has a workforce of 1,500 staff located at different power plants in the country. With its wealth of experience, established corporate base and a clear vision, the company intends to maintain leadership in the liberalised electric energy sub-sector in Kenya and the Eastern Africa Region.
Kenya’s energy ministry delegated the responsibility of picking a contractor to KenGen. The company, which generates some 77 percent of Kenya’s electricity output, commissioned a 5.1 MW wind-sourced project in 2009.
Ngong Power Station is a wind farm comprising two wind turbines. The station was commissioned in 1993 as a donation from the Belgian Government and has been running since then. In 2005, one of the turbines cracked a blade. Plans are underway to replace the turbine with a bigger capacity model with feasibility studies currently being undertaken. The station is manned by one member of staff who checks the operation during the day. It runs unmanned at night.
Kenyans in the diaspora are to set up a wind power plant in the northeastern part of the country at a cost of Sh55 billion. Through their firm, Gitson Energy Ltd, the 300-megawatt facility is set to begin operating in 2011 and to attain full capacity in 2012.
A 300 megawatt wind farm, coined the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, is being developed in Kenya. A total of 365 wind turbines are slated for installation.
In the Ngong Hills, Vestas, a Danish company has started putting up six 50m turbines which will add 5.1 MW to the national grid from August. The work started in July with another dozen turbines to be added at the site in the next few years.
The Dutch consortium behind the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project has leased 66,000 hectares of land on the eastern edge of the world’s largest permanent desert lake.
Some 365 giant wind turbines are to be installed in desert around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya – used as a backdrop for the film The Constant Gardener – creating the biggest windfarm on the continent. When complete in 2012, the £533m project will have a capacity of 300MW, a quarter of Kenya’s current installed power and one of the highest proportions of wind energy to be fed in a national grid anywhere in the world.
Already Ethiopia has commissioned a £190m, 120 MW farm in Tigray region, representing 15% of the current electricity capacity, and intends to build several more. Tanzania has announced plans to generate at least 100MW of power from two projects in the central Singida region, more than 10% of the country’s current supply. In March, South Africa, whose heavy reliance on coal makes its electricity the second most greenhouse-gas intensive in the world, became the first African country to announce a feed-in tariff for wind power, whereby customers generating electricity receive a cash payment for selling that power to the grid.