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September 26, 2017

Sh70 billion Lake Turkana wind power project almost complete

The view of the Ksh 70 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Loiyangalani district of Marsabit County of Northern Kenya sitting on a 40,000 acres piece of land on August 16, 2016./JACK OWUOR
The view of the Ksh 70 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Loiyangalani district of Marsabit County of Northern Kenya sitting on a 40,000 acres piece of land on August 16, 2016./JACK OWUOR

Construction of the largest wind power farm in Africa, aimed at producing 310MW of power, is almost complete.

Technicians working on the 40,000-acre wind farm in Marsabit mounted the final blade on the final turbine of the 365–turbine-project on Friday last week.

Lake Turkana Wind Power contracted Vestas to set up and install the turbines four years ago.

The investment for the Northern Kenya wind farm is worth Sh70 billion.

The foundations were completed last year and the first turbine was erected in March 2016. By October 2016, the firm had installed 155 of the 365 turbines. The project was scheduled to be complete by June 30.

The turbines are transported for more than 1,000km from the Port of Mombasa.

Connected to substation

The first section of the wind farm, comprising 119 turbines ( 101MW) and the associated 33kV overhead line (OHL), substation and Statcoms, have been deemed commissioned and connected to the sub-station on site, in Sarima.

Work is currently underway to connect the remaining turbines to the substation. This is expected to be completed in three months.

The 310MW farm will then go through further commissioning tests once the national grid is in place, later this year.

No hitch in building wind farm

Speaking on site on Tuesday, Lake Turkana Wind Power GM Phylip Leferink said, “We are very pleased that the installation of the wind turbines went on without any hitches. Being able to erect 365 turbines in 365 days is a record that we are very proud of as an organisation together with our partner, Vestas.”

“In addition to the technology that was deployed on the project, the cooperation between all the parties contributed to the successful completion of this herculean task; from transporting the turbines from Mombasa and installing them on the hilly and arid terrains in Loiyangalani subcounty.”

The wind farm targets to have an annual generation capacity of 1.6 billion kilowatt hour (kWh), while the tariff rate would be Sh8.6 per kilowatt/hour (kWh) as per the 20-year-long Power Purchase Agreement signed between the wind farm and the government.

Currently, Kenya relies heavily on renewables such as geothermal, solar and hydro-power, and thus the discovery of high quality wind sites across the country and the modernised turbine systems, will play a major role in expanding Kenya’s generation capacity.

On completion, the wind farm will produce enough energy to power one million homes.

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