Lake Turkana Wind takes charge of Marsabit project

Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd will now directly oversee the building of the 310-megawatt wind farm in northern Kenya after taking over the role from its partner Aldwych International to cut red tape and speed up the power generation project.

The firm, which targets to inject the first 90 megawatts of wind power into the grid by next September, says the many administrative layers risked slowing the project, necessitating the takeover of the role from the UK-based firm.

Aldwych is the single largest investor in the Sh76 billion wind project with a 30.7 per cent stake.

“The role has reverted to Lake Turkana Wind Power Company to simplify administration of the project and meet targets,” said Carlo Van Wageningen, a director of Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd.

The change comes a month after Google bought a 12.5 per cent equity stake in the wind project, the largest in Africa, for Sh4 billion in October.

Electricity from the Marsabit-based wind farm will cost Sh8.6 per unit (8.5 US cents) or half that from diesel generators. The full 310-megawatt capacity of the Turkana wind project, to be delivered by 365 wind turbines, is expected to be in place by July 2017.

The farm sits on 40,000 acres of land in an area that receives steady winds throughout the year.

The project is being implemented by a consortium of KPandP Africa B.V., Aldwych, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, Industrial Fund for Developing Countries, Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and Vestas Eastern Africa.

The wind farm had been slated to start generating power in June 2011 but faced financing difficulties after the World Bank pulled out of the project. There were also delays to set up a transmission line connecting it to the national grid.

Kenya in 2013 set an ambitious target to inject additional 5,000 MW of cheaper electricity to the grid by 2017 from sources like geothermal and wind to accelerate economic growth.

The country’s installed power capacity currently stands at 2,294 MW from 1,717 MW two years ago and 1,412 MW in 2010.