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September 24, 2018

Race against time for key power line

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. The farm is the largest private investment in Kenya’s history will comprise 365 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW which aims to provide 310MW to Kenya’s national grid. Photo/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. The farm is the largest private investment in Kenya’s history will comprise 365 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW which aims to provide 310MW to Kenya’s national grid. Photo/Jack Owuor

Kenya risks paying a Sh1 billion monthly fine unless it connects Turkana wind power to the national grid in the next 24 hours.

In May, Kenya was fined $50.7 million (Sh5.7 billion) after failing to meet he earlier deadline.

The National Treasury had to factor in the amount in the September supplementary budget to pay the Danish financiers for delay. The amount is being recovered from consumers via monthly bills.

The subsequent monthly fine of Sh1 billion was suspended after a consensus saw an extension to September 1 for the completion of the 428 kilometre transmission line

The penalty if executed will see power consumers further shoulder the penalty for the government's failure to meet the schedule.

The Sh70 billion wind power project which sits on a 40,000 acres piece of land with 365 wind turbines is one of largest private energy investment in East Africa.

The line will evacuate power from Marsabit to Suswa substation in Narok, the country’s main interchange for power coming from different sources.

On Wednesday, CS Energy Charles Keter personally supervised the final phase of construction by Chinese contractors hoping to beat the September 1 deadline and save the country from further penalties.

Keter was accompanied by Energy PS Joseph Njoroge, KETRACO managing director Fernandes Barasa and Kenya Power acting managing director Jared Othieno.

"The transmission line which is in its final phase of construction is now being inspected by technical experts from both KETRACO and Kenya Power. Once commissioned, the line will evacuate power from the 310mw Lake Turkana wind power project,’’ Keter said.

He did not however indicate if the power line will be complete by Saturday. Early this month, Keter told the Parliamentary Energy committee that the power line was 86 per cent complete and should be ready by end of August.

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