Construction on the largest utility-scale wind turbine project in Africa is set to begin construction in Kenya in December of this year after the group behind it received a letter of support from the Kenyan government. The Lake Turkana Wind Power project, once finished, will consist of 360 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kilowatts that will generate a total of 300 megawatts of electricity. The letter of support from Kenyan officials gives the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project government backing in the sale of their energy and will help them seal the deal on their final round of financing, putting the last wheels in motion for bringing this project online.
“We now look up to breaking ground by December and have the initial 50 megawatts running on the national grid by September 2013 and at full capacity by mid 2014,” LTWP Chairman Carlo Van Wageningen told Reuters this past weekend at an event where the letter of support from the government was signed. “Regrettably we had delays on the way but the new commitment by the Kenyan government resolves several issues that had been raised by some of our targeted financiers,” Van Wageningen added, acknowledging the project had been stalled for many months.
The letter promises government support and possible payment if the main utility company receiving power from LTWP, Kenya Power and Lighting Company, refuses to pay for the energy. The project’s final price tag is set to be around $870 million and the farm is being built in the remote Loiyangalani region in northwest Kenya. Included in the private project’s budget is the construction of a 266 mile-long transmission line that ensures the power generated by the Kenyan winds will find its way onto the Kenyan grid.
Lead image by Philipp Hertzog