Wind power in Kenya: KenGen plans 100 MW from wind energy by 2015

KenGen is banking on faster delivery of wind turbines to meet production target and ease the country’s vulnerability to the vagaries of weather in rain-fed hydro electricity generation.

The company plans to produce at least 100 MW of electricity from wind energy by 2015. Wind power feed into the national grind is expected to then average 500 MW if the planned investments by private producers are implemented.

KenGen on Wednesday launched the first wind farm in Kenya that is already feeding 5.1 MW to the national grid. “The farm was completed ahead of time because delivery time for wind turbines was lessened from 24 months to eight months,” said Mr Eddy Njoroge, the managing director of KenGen.

He attributed the faster delivery partly to less global demand because of the financial crisis that is now easing. The wind farm is the first phase of a project to generate a further 6.8 MW when the other turbines are installed in the second phase.

The situation could however change following rebound in global economy. “More banks are venturing into project funding, which will henceforth create a more robust financial infrastructure for the industry and its customers,” said Vestas – the company that supplied wind turbines – in its current financial forecast report.

But it adds that low prices of fossil fuels could postpone demand, and lower energy consumption caused by economic trends could also have an adverse effect on demand for wind power plants.

KenGen said it has also signed a concessional loan of Sh2 billion with Spanish government to develop 13.6MW wind farm as part of its plan to generate 25.5MW of wind power by 2012.

A Chinese company Hydro China has been awarded the contract to do a feasibility study in Ngong area and parts of northern Kenya to enable KenGen set up a 100MW wind farms that will start operations in 2013.

The new wind farm is using wind turbines made by Vestas, a Europe-based manufacturer. General Electric is also expected to be a key supplier of a private wind power farm planned for North Eastern.

The new wind farm has effectively opened a new window of power generation in Kenya being the first of its kind to feed into the national grind.