Sometime within the first quarter of 2014, construction of Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power farm will begin. A funding shortage — which will be fulfilled by the end of the year — postponed the project which is expected to generate 300MW of power, Business Day Live reported. Power generation was originally expected to go into effect June of 2011.
Still, the European Investment Bank will contribute $265 million to the project. In addition to an aging power grid, consistent blackouts across the country have encouraged the development of the farm, according to Business Day Live.
“Q1 (first quarter) next year we should be in construction. Then it’s about 23 months to the first 50MW of power, then about another seven months or so to get the full 300MW,” Christian Wright, Aldwych International regional director, said in the report.
Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems — which recently supplied 35 V112-3.0 MW turbines for three wind farms in South Africa — will provide close to 365 wind turbines, the report said. Kenya power, the only power distribution company in the country, has agreed to pay the 10¢ tax per kilowatt hour.
With plans to quadruple power output, currently at 1,664MW, the country is hoping to heighten economic growth by establishing an additional 5,000MW of power by 2017. Relying less on unnecessary “rain-fed hydro-electric dams,” Business Day Live said is also in Kenya’s future.
“There will also be concern that … if you build so much new capacity up so quickly, will demand actually be able to pick up just as quickly?” Kurt Simonsen, head of the European Investment Bank in East Africa and Central Africa, asked.
He and others questioned the feasibility of the timeline. If supply doesn’t meet demand, Kenya will be left to foot the bill for added and unused power. Business Day Live noted that plans to “liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal-fired power stations, while also tapping vast steam reserves to ramp up geothermal production,” are also in the works.