Kenya’s second wind power Gitson Energy has secured financing

Gitson Energy plans a 300 megawatts (MW) wind farm in Bubisa, Marsabit and a further 50MW from a solar project in the same area.

The United States- based Exim Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation finance private sector investors abroad, an indication that the company owned by Kenyans in the diaspora is likely to get into partnership with United States companies.

The company did not, however, disclose the worth of commitments saying it was evaluating several other proposals from prospective investors before its makes the final funding commitments.

"We have received funding and equity proposals from potential strategic partners and are evaluating them," said James Gitau, the company’s CEO.

The wind energy project is expected to be completed by end 2012, adding to another being developed by the Lake Turkana Wind Power, a 350 MW wind farm project that will be completed around the same time, with wind turbines from Vesta.

The two wind farm projects are expected to share a transmission line, with Giston’s line linking to that of Lake Turkana that will join the national grind at Suswa.

Gitson Energy had earlier said it had received financing commitment for the transmission line of Sh15.6 billion.

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) confirmed last week that it is set to start construction of the two lines in September this year, starting with that of Lake Turkana Wind Power.

"We have the money that is required for these projects. The donors are competing to fund us because of the immense importance of electricity access for development," said Joel Kiilu, the managing director of Ketraco.

Lake Turkana Wind Power’s line will be a 428 km long 400 kV Double Circuit line from its site to Suswa, about 100 kilometres from the capital Nairobi at a cost of Sh14 billion.

Gitson Energy’s is a 200 kilometres transmission line from Marsabit to link to the one for Lake Turkana line.

Giston Energy officials said the company has completed data collection at Bubisa and has received draft Power Purchase Agreement for the Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

The project has been approved by Government of Kenya through the County Council of Marsabit, Ministry of Energy and Green Energy program chaired by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Mr Gitau said the US Embassy in Nairobi has promised to fund the transmission line study between Bubisa and Loiyangalani where it will connect Lake Turkana Wind Farm site.

The project was endorsed by United Nations Development Programme "Growing Sustainable Business" in 2007.

Gitson Energy is owned by a group of Kenyans in the diaspora mainly in US.

The company officials said its wind turbine supplier – whom it did not name–has confirmed the willingness to start shipping the turbines in early 2011.

"Our wind turbines supplier will construct the wind farm on turnkey. This will eliminate delays and enhance quality since these teams have a proven track record," said Mr Thairu.

A turn-key or a turn-key project is a type of project that is constructed by a developer and sold or turned over to a buyer in a ready-to-use condition.

In addition to increasing Kenya’s green energy output to one of the highest in Africa and almost equalling generation from predominant hydro sources, the projects are expected to make huge earnings from the global carbon market because they are a renewable energy source.

Lake Turkana Wind Power has already received some funding from African Carbon Asset Development facility that has been set up as collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme, Standard Bank and the German government’s International Climate Initiative to invest in carbon trade projects.

By Steve Mbogo, Business Daily (Nairobi),