Wednesday, 8 May 2013

AfDB funds Africa's largest wind power project

A section of the 40,000 Ha wind power farm in
 Samburu County
THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (AfDB), has approved a US$149.5 million to finance the Lake Turkana Wind power project in Kenya. 

This is part of a US$240.9 million  the Bank will invest in  the Project, Africa’s largest wind power farm.  In addition the Bank will carry out a road show in a bid to attract more lenders to the project.

 The move by the AfDB unlocks funding for the project which has been dogged by years of uncertainty and doubt.  Now with AfDB’s money and stamp of approval, the project is firmly on the path to implementation and completion.

 Lake Turkana wind power project is the largest wind power project in Africa. It will generate some 300MW for Kenya’s national grid. This is 40 per cent of Kenya’s e current electricity output standing at 1250 MW.  The project’s funding had been thrown off-balance by refusal by the World Bank to provide guarantees. The US$763 million project is the largest private sector investment in the country’s history. It is funded by both Debt and equity.

AfDB is the leader arranger. Other arrangers include are; Standard Bank of South Africa and Nedbank Capital of South Africa.  Apart from the debt financiers there are also equity financiers including by Aldywich International which owns a 51 per cent stake, South Africa’s IDB (25 per cent), Pan Africa Investment Development Fund and Vestas— the leading Danish manufacturer of wind turbines (12.5 per cent) and the six co-founders (6.5 per cent).

Already the special purpose vehicle, which will generate the power, Lake Turkana wind power limited, has signed a20-year Power Purchase agreement (PPA) at a fixed price of $0.12 per KWh with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). KPLC is the sole distributor of electric power in Kenya.  

Although demand for power is estimated to grow a 8 per cent per year, that figure is misleading as there a huge latent demand for power that is yet to  be met. The eight per cent growth analysts say is probably what the power companies are able to meet per year. Kenya expects to increase its power generation Capacity by to 17000MW by 2030. Consequently there is currently a heightened activity in this sector. Go to http://eaers.blogspot.com/2013/04/kenyas-electricity-generation-hot.html

Based in Loiyangalani in Samburu County, the Lake Turkana wind power project includes installation of 385 wind Turbines on a 40,000 hectare piece of land, the associated overhead electric grid collection system and a high voltage substation

The Project also includes upgrading of the existing 204km road from Laisamis to the wind farm site, as well as an access road network in and around the162Km2 site for construction, operations and maintenance.  Already the first 31million (ksh3.2 billion) contract for the construction and upgrading of more than 300KM of was awarded to Civicon Kenya. See http://eaerb.blogspot.com/2012/07/lake-turkana-wind-power-laying-first.html

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (Ketraco) is constructing a double circuit 400kv, 428km transmission line to deliver the LTWP electricity to the national grid.  The line will also be used to transport the proposed power import from Ethiopia.

Wind power, coupled with geothermal and  hydro-electric power that already accounts for more than 70 per cent of Kenya’s electricity demand, will  make Kenya nearly 100 per cent dependent on environmentally-friendly energy sources and eliminate power  fluctuation. Currently, it uses Thermal power to smooth out fluctuations. See http://eaers.blogspot.com/2012/01/africas-largest-wind-power-farm-set-to.html

The Turkana project will engender a lot of benefits to the country in its 20-year life span, company officials say. Among these is cheap power at US$0.12 cents per Kwh. Further, being a green energy project, Lake Turkana wind power will enhance energy diversification and save 16million tons of CO2 emissions compared to a fossil fuel fired power plant. It will earn carbon credits at a rate of €10 million (US$130 million) a year for a total of€200 million ($262milion) over the life of the project.  The income is to be shared with the government and invested in the community.

It will save the country €120 million ($157 million ) a year in fossil fuel imports  as it will cut demand for  fossil fuel used in power generation. Other benefits include tax-revenue estimated at €22.7 million ($30 million) per year or €450 million ($589 million) over the life of the investment.

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