Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Africa’s largest Wind power Project ready to rollout


 Smiles at last: Following 9 years of blood, sweat and tears
 FINALLY! AFRICA’S LARGEST Wind Power project, the Lake Turkana wind power project has been placed on the runway ready for take-off. The firm signed the financial closure for US$687million on March 24th. This marks the end of “Nine years of studies, negotiations, doubts and hope,” said Kenya’s Principal Secretary for energy, Eng. Joseph Njoroge.

 The ground breaking ceremony will be in six weeks’ time during which time the firm expects to have formalized all funding issues and then take off.  According to the PS Energy Mr.Joe Njoroge, the firm should produce the 150MW in 2016.

Lake Turkana wind power project is the largest wind power project in Africa. It will generate some 300 MW for Kenya’s national grid. This is 20 per cent of Kenya’s e current electricity output which is growing at a rate of 80 MW every year. The US$763 million project is the largest private sector investment in the country’s history. It is funded by both Debt and equity.

 The deal to finance the project was “the most complex financial deal in Africa today” said the AfDB regional director, Gabriel Negatu .  The African Development Bank (AfDB) is the lead arranger and has invested US$240.9 million in the Project, Africa’s largest wind power farm. 

 Other arrangers include are; Standard Bank of South Africa and Nedbank Capital of South Africa. Other investor who signed the deal yesterday include; Proparco, East Africa Development Bank, European investment Bank which has invested $276million, FMO, PTA Bank, Triodos, EKF, DEG and OPIC 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 a 20-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 5513MW by 2017. Some ^30MW will come from wind and LTWP will provide the bulk of these. Other sources include, Ngong, Wajir and Oltepesi. 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. The firm announced that it will give a "proceed to construction Notice" to its contractor next week. The line will be complete in 23 months time.

Wind power, coupled with geothermal and  hydro-electric power that already accounts for more than 70 per cent of Kenya’s electricity supply, 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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