Kenya?s largest wind farm to produce by late 2012

A financing deal for Kenya’s largest wind farm is due to be concluded in the first quarter of next year, setting Kenya on the road to becoming East Africa’s leader in the field of renewable energy.

Lake Turkana Wind Power chairman Carlo Van Wageningen revealed here that conclusion of the deal would pave the way for the US$780 million wind energy plant to produce the first 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity in the third quarter of next year. “We expect to close the financing deal in March or April 2012 and to have full production of 300MW a year later,” he said in a presentation.

The announcement comes a year after the Treasury offered the financiers guarantees they had sought against political and other risks. The Turkana wind farm, billed as one of the largest in the world, is being financed through a 30% syndicated loan arranged by the African Development Bank. Other financiers are Standard and Nedbank of South Africa; BKF, a Danish development bank; and the European Investment Bank.

The project is 51% owned by Aldywich International, South Africa’s IDB (25%), Pan Africa Investment Development Fund; Vestas ‒ the Danish leading manufacturer of wind turbines (12.5%); and the six co-founders (6.5%).

The Turkana wind power company hopes to produce electricity at the cost of about 7.52 cents per kilowatt hour, making it the cheapest power source in Kenya.