Kenya’s position as a leader for renewable energy continued with this month’s launch of the Lake Turkana Wind Project.
The president of Kenya has opened the largest wind farm in Africa, as the country continues to lead the way on renewable energy.
The Lake Turkana Wind Project (LTWP) can generate up to 310 MW from 365 turbines spread over 40,000 acres near the southern tip of Lake Turkana, in the north of the country, and was opened on 19 July at Loiyangalani by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The site is Kenya’s largest renewable energy project and at KES 81 billion (GBP 630 million), its largest single private sector investment. The operators of the project claim that it will reduce power shortages by 12.5% and cut the cost of electricity by 7-10%.
Kenya’s power production has now increased from 1,768 to 2,712 in six years, thanks to the construction of projects including the Ngong wind and Garissa solar projects, and the majority of its energy production is renewable, with claims of up to 85%, thanks largely to geothermal and hydroelectric projects.
Speaking at the launch event, which was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Kenyatta praised the project as “another first in Africa”.
He continued: “The successful implementation of the Lake Turkana Wind Power demonstrates Kenya’s outstanding credentials as an investment destination in Africa and is a perfect example of the immense potential of the public private partnership model of implementing development projects.”
Kenyatta called for further partnerships between the public and private sectors in Kenya, saying: “I invite other investors, not only within the energy sector but across the full spectrum of the economy, to join hands with government in conceptualising and delivering transformative projects that secure measurable returns for our people as well as the investors.”
A new power line linking the site to the national was opened in September last year. The project has also brought with it wider infrastructure development, including the construction of a 200-kilometre road between Laisamis and Sarima and the increase of business, health, education and security in the area, said the LTWP consortium.
Kenyatta has previously spoken of Kenya’s aim to have 100% green energy sufficiency by 2020, along with 100% of the population having access to electricity, while highlighting the benefits of lower costs to industry and the environment.
LTWP is a joint venture between Dutch renewables developer KP&P Africa, London-headquartered energy investors Aldwych International, Danish development finance institution (DFI) Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and the Danish Climate Investment Fund (KIF), KLP Norfund Investments – jointly run by the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) and pension fund manager KLP, Danish turbine maker Vestas, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund) and investor Sandpiper.
The consortium has borrowed money from development banks, including the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Trade and Development Bank, East African Development Bank, French DFI PROPARCO, Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), Danish export credit agency Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) and EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF). The lenders also included commercial banks Standard Bank, Nedbank of South Africa and Dutch self-proclaimed ethical lender Triodos Bank.
Earlier this year, AfDB committed USD 25 million to a private equity fund for renewable investments, while General Electric (GE) has backed sustainable power systems in West Africa and finance for green energy projects is also coming from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Last year, Italian energy corporation Eni formed a partnership to support United Nations Development Programme renewable energy projects.