|Kenya: Potential to Be Sub-Sahara Leader in Wind Energy|
Kenya: Potential to Be Sub-Sahara Leader in Wind Energy
The 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) will provide Kenya with low-cost and reliable energy.
Kenya will build the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, reports the Guardian. Kenya’s Turkana region will host the US$775m (€582m) LTWP, and construction will begin in June 2012, once the World Bank’s financial institutions, IDA and MIGA, approve the risk guarantees.
The ambitious project will balance Kenya’s dependence on hydroelectric power, which provides 60% of its electricity, as dry seasons and droughts lead to power shortages, and associated economic impact.
The farm, with 365 Vestas turbines, will generate 300MW – 20% of the country’s current generating capacity. By end December 2012, the farm is expected to generate 50MW and the balance by early 2015, reports CleanTechnica.
The Guardian states that the region enjoys “strong and predictable winds.” The massive wind farm will extend over 40,000 acres in the Loiyangalani district in northeastern Kenya, and stretch from an elevation of 450m at the shore of Lake Turkana to 2,300m above sea level at the top of Mount Kulal.
All Africa writes that the farm will be connected to a 428km transmission line, to be built by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company. LTWP will sell its power to the country’s utility, Kenya Power, for 20 years at 7.52 euro cents/ KWh (9.9 US cents,) the lowest rate in the country, writes Cleantechnica.
Only 18% of Kenyan homes have electricity. Due to economic growth, peak electricity usage has grown from 780MW in 2002 to the current 1,200MW, writes Reuters. Kenya depends on coal and oil imports to support the unpredictable hydropower generation, explains Renewable Energy World.
The country has its choice of energy sources, which have yet to be harnessed with a potential:
Clean Technica writes that the Kenyan government, with the support of international organizations, adopted a renewable energy development program, and is part of the World Bank’s Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries Program (SREP.) According to the Guardian, Kenya’s renewable energy investments grew from almost zero in 2009 to US$1.3bn in 2010.
Locals will benefit from the wind farm ...
The Guardian reports that LTWP will create 2,500 construction jobs, and 200 full-time positions.
The 300MW wind farm will supply Kenya with 33% of its power ...
All Africa quotes Carlo Van Wageningen, LTWP Chairman, who says that the wind farm is to be of a significant size to generate sufficient energy to warrant the transmission distances required. According to the article, the 300MW wind farm will supply a third of the country’s power.
Kenya’s power generation could become carbon-free ...
Nick Nuttal, spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP,) says that with Kenya’s renewable energy potential, the country could become a “zero-emission economy in the field of electricity generation over the coming years.”