Turkana wind power project yields 102 MW

Lake Turkana Wind Power Company has started the injection of an initial 102MW into the national grid.
The additional power forms 33 per cent of the total 310MW that the wind power farm has agreed to inject into the national grid by June.

The renewable energy company is projecting to generate 1.6 billion kilowatt hour (kWh) every year at a pre-agreed tariff rate of Sh8.6 per kWh according to a 20-year long deal struck between the wind farm and the government.

The project, which is the largest wind farm in Africa, is expected to be complete in June 2017 and management is keen on delivering the promise.

So far, the wind farm can produce up to 33 per cent of its expected target of 310 Megawatts(MW) signaling to conclude as scheduled.

Already, a total of 347 out of 365 turbines have been erected with the remaining 20 turbines delivered on site.

The firm’s General Manager, Phylip Leferink, said the technical team, from Vestas and Siemens, are working overtime to ensure that they meet the timelines as per the contractual obligations.

Assembly of the turbines began in March 2016 and all 365 are expected to be up and running by June 2017.

A double circuit 400kV, 438km transmission line is currently being constructed by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).

The line will evacuate the electricity from the 40,000-acre wind farm to the national grid via the Suswa sub-station.

On completion, the Marsabit-based wind farm will produce enough energy to power an additional 1 million Kenyan households.

The projects’ total cost is estimated at Sh70 billion financed through equity debt (25 percent), mezzanine debt (5 percent) and senior debt (70 percent). AfDB provided Sh15 billion as senior loan.

The project will benefit Kenya by providing clean and affordable energy that will reduce the overall energy cost to end consumers.

Furthermore, the project will allow the landlocked Great Rift Valley region to be connected to the rest of the country through the improved infrastructure linked to the wind farm, including a road, fibre-optic cable and electrification.

This zero-emission project will also contribute to fill the energy gap in the country, enhancing energy diversification and saving 16 million tons of CO2 emission compared to a fossil fuel-fired power plant.