Wind energy in Kenya: Turkana wind farm to create 2,800 jobs

A massive wind power project in Lake Turkana region will create 2800 jobs over the next 3 years mainly in construction. Carlo Van Wageningen, the chairman of Lake Turkana Wind Power, the consortium that is undertaking the project, yesterday said the 300Megawatt project will see the installation of 365 wind turbines over 40,000 acres.

It will be the largest wind project in the world when completed. “We have to build a village to accommodate all the staff,” Wageningen said at a press briefing in Nairobi. Other projects include the construction of a road that the consortium will undertake, installation of a 105kilometre interconnection between the wind turbines and deployment of static synchronous condensers to stabilize the system.

Wageningen said concurrent construction of a transmission line from the area to Suswa would be carried out by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco). The wind farm project will cost 583million euros (Sh64billion) while the transmission line will cost 142million euros (Sh15.6billion) for a total of Sh80billion at current exchange rates. “We expect to be online at the end of the last quarter (December) 2013 with 50MW with completion in the last quarter of 2014,” Wageningen said.

He said 70 per cent of the project funding will come from commercial lenders with 30 per cent coming from cash injection by shareholders. “Our lenders are completing the stages to get financial close,” the chairman added. Shareholders include Aldwych which own Rabai power plant (25 per cent), IDC of South Africa (25 per cent), Norfund and Vestas (25 per cent each), Danish IFU (6.25 per cent ) and KPMP (8.75 per cent). Wageningen said Kenya has very good wind with potential for up to 15,000MW in the Lake Turkana/Marsabit region. “This will be the highest load power capacity in the world,” he said.