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Kenya’s Windfarm to come Online in 3 months

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The Kenyan windfarm which has been lagging behind schedule for several years will be ready in three months, CS Cabinet Secretary for energy Charles Keter said on Thursday. Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, which is expected to feed 310 MW has 365 V52-850 kW turbines. The company stated that construction works were complete and the windfarm was all set up.

The 266-mile 400kV line which is needed to carry power from the farm, running from  Loiyangalani to Suswa, however, has been met by hurdles, among them a legal case which dates back to 2014 over land acquisition issues. As a result, the firm will lie idle despite completion until the line is installed. Recently, another hurdle was revealed to be financial troubles on the project’s main contributor, Isolux Corsan, a Spanish engineering and construction company.

Energy minister, Charles Keter said that the government had already begun the processes of obtaining the materials necessary for local constructors to finish up on the work which started in 2015.  “We saw the need that instead of us terminating the contract, we’d rather manage by getting the materials because the subcontractors who are working on the line are Kenyans,” said the minister in a press conference, “If we get the materials within the next three months, we should complete the line.”

Once the project is complete, the complex will generate adequate power for more than 330 local homes, which accounts for 15% of the total energy produced in Kenya. Kenya is aiming at producing 2,036 MW of wind power by 2030.

Companies which make the project’s consortium include Investment Fund for Developing Countries, KP&P Africa, and Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Sandpiper and Vestas, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation and Aldwych International. Once the project is complete, Google will acquire a 12.5% stake in the project.

Currently, the main windfarm is the KenGen-owned Ngong Hill Wind Farm, located in Ngong, Kajiado County. The firm produces around 5.1MW of electricity. Construction of the project cost Ksh. 1.6 billion. Other facilities include Ngong Wind 1, which is the second phase of the Ngong Wind Farm, commissioned in April 2013 and expected to produce 6.8 MW.

Isiolo Wind is another, with a capacity f 150MW commissioned in July 2013 and Marsabit Wind whose expected capacity is 50MW. Feasibility is however, still in progress. Currently, the country relies heavily on hydropower and geothermal power which provides an output of 2341 MW.

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Melissa Daniels
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KENYA