Frequently asked questions
LTWP has 365 Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs), each with a capacity of 850 kW for a total installed capacity of 310 MW.
Since LTWP began injecting power into the national grid on 24 September 2018, the wind farm has averaged capacity factors of above 70%, peaking at 99% at 307 MW.
LTWP is an independent power producer, meaning that it is a private company responsible for generating electricity, but not for distributing it. LTWP has a contract with the Government of Kenya (GoK) stating that LTWP must sell all its power to Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC).
The GoK and Marsabit County (primarily through Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), but also through Ketraco and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)), are responsible for distributing electricity to communities in Kenya.
LTWP would like neighbouring communities to be able to access electricity and is committed to working with the national government and the county government to explore possible avenues to realise this in the future.
We undertook studies to determine what level of wind power could be absorbed safely by the national grid and at the time, a maximum capacity of 310 MW (allowing for capacity factors between 50-70%) was deemed prudent. As Kenya’s demand rises and there is sufficient spinning reserve to balance intermittency occasioned by wind power; and subject to GOK/ KPLC requirements, LTWP may explore expansion although there are currently no plans for this at this. Our commitment is to first deliver cheap, renewable power that has been long awaited by Kenyans.
The wind farm will continue to operate until 2039, when the power purchasing agreement with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) lapses. At that point, LTWP will consider the following options:
Upgrade the wind farm (under a new agreement with the National Government, County Government and KPLC) or Demobilise the wind farm (i.e. wind farm is fully removed).
Wind power cannot be stored so it must be used when generated. LTWP provides KPLC with forecasts and KPLC plans the energy mix in the system. Depending on the demand, KPLC will ask LTWP to either dispatch or curtail (i.e., not to generate) the power.
LTWP provides forecasting to KPLC on how much it can produce half-hourly. When the wind drops, KPLC’s National Control Centre (NCC) must balance the load with “spinning reserve” which is power from sources that are instantly available. This is standard dispatch protocol and best practice uses hydro/ geothermal power as a spinning reserve.
- Employment, e.g. LTWP is the largest private employer in Marsabit County (refer to the question on employment below) employing about 300 people from local communities.
- Community development project through the Winds of Change Foundation (WoC), with a focus on improving access to education, health and water as well as supporting livelihood activities. Since operations commenced in June 2015, WoC has implemented community development projects worth approximately US$ 3 million. Moreover, WoC prioritises the contracting of local contractors, which itself results in a substantial injection of cash into the local economy. More information about WoC can be obtained at https://ltwp.co.ke/winds-of-change/.
- Rehabilitation of 208 km Laisamis to Sarima road.
- Improvement of security.
- Payment of taxes, amounting to billions of shillings, to the National Government for development projects at the county government level. The National Government is responsible for the collection of tax revenues and distribution to the county and payment of land lease to Marsabit County government, which is subsequently responsible for usage of these funds in a manner that enables community development.
Winds of Change operates within the administrative boundaries of Laisamis Constituency (22,000 km2).
Based on the PPA, LTWP can only sell to KPLC. KPLC can (and ideally should) export the cheap wind power to neighbouring countries. As Kenya gets connected to the various power pools (via Namanga and Lessos), it will be able to export power and earn revenue rather than curtail power and pay for unused power under LTWP’s take-or-pay agreement.
There is an incredible opportunity for the country and KPLC to become a regional trader/supplier.
Currently, LTWP is focused on ensuring that we meet all our contractual obligations to deliver power from the plant. Wind power plants have a long gestation period and Kenya will have to undertake studies to determine what its demand/ supply will be in years ahead along with the planned plants in the Least Cost Power Development (LCPD) Plan 2017. LTWP started planning in 2008 and came online in 2018, so it does take time!
The land used for the project is leased by LTWP from Marsabit County for a term of 33 years with an option to extend twice up to 99 years. The actual project site on which the wind power project sits is 40,000 acres.
Only 0.2% of the site is occupied by physical structures. LTWP’s permanent structures include 365 wind turbines, a substation and workers’ accommodation.
The remaining land, representing 99.8% of the project site, is open to the public and continues to be used by the local nomadic population for settlement, grazing of livestock, and access to water points. Moreover, the C-77 public road passes through the project site, from the southern end to the northwest end.
The project site is not fenced. However, there are two fenced areas, which include the substation, for health and safety purposes, and the workers’ accommodation, for security reasons.
LTWP is the largest private employer in Marsabit County. To date, the project has employed approximately 3,000 people.
Currently, LTWP employs 341 people, of whom 85% come from Marsabit County, 14% from other parts of Kenya and less than 1% from outside of Kenya. This makes LTWP a truly Kenyan company run by Kenyans.
All job vacancies are advertised on the website. Please visit the careers page to see all current vacancies.
The project has a grievance mechanism that handles grievances submitted by stakeholders, be it local community members or other interested/affected parties.
Yes, LTWP is open to partnerships. LTWP has previously partnered with Marsabit County Government, local community-based organisations and other non-governmental organisations.
LTWP is focused on improving the livelihood of the community. Therefore, we plan to continue with the current partnerships that we have and hope to bring other partners on board to improve the livelihood of the community.