Renewable energy will be coming big-time to East Africa in the form of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project , which will be the largest single wind farm in sub-Sahara Africa, supplying around one fifth of Kenya’s renewable energy. That’s a cool 300MW of low cost green energy from 365 wind turbines (one for each day of the year?) each generating 850kW. The farm will be located in a remote area of Northern Kenya and is called the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project.
Finance has been provided in the form of 200m Euros from Europe’s leading long-term lending institution- the European Investment Bank. The total cost of the Project is EUR 620m and additional finance comes from the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund and a broad range of international investors. It will be the largest ever private investment in Kenya.
Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice-President commented:
“Availability of affordable energy is essential for Africa and electricity from the Lake Turkana Wind Power project will support economic growth across Kenya by helping to ensure power supply during periods of peak demand. Europe’s firm commitment to supporting long-term investment in Kenya is reflected in nearly two-thirds of financial support being provided by European public and private investors and the crucial role of the support of the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund in closing the deal. Today is a milestone for the history of energy in Kenya and we look forward to the project fulfilling high expectations once complete.”
Once the Lake Turkana Wind Power project is complete Kenya will benefit from fewer power shortages and electricity some 60% cheaper than thermal power plants. The scheme will also reduce reliance on hydro-electric power, which tends to lose much generating capacity during the dry season, requiring the importation of expensive and carbon-generating fossil fuels.
The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project site is 162 square kilometres in area and is located in Marsabit County which has some of the most consistent winds in Africa. To avoid bird contact with the turbines, the site is at least 9 km from the shore of Lake Turkana. A 12 month ornithological study was completed and annual environmental audits will be done for the entire wind farm operational period. The investors have spent some time planning the exact location, and doing their utmost to ensure an environmentally-friendly location for the project.