The construction of Lake Turkana wind farm in northern Kenya is scheduled to begin soon, following seven years of study and funding negotiations.
Carlo Van Wageningen, the head of Lake Turkana Wind Power, told AFP that all contracts were in place and that initial site work will begin once the World Bank risk guarantees are finalised.
“All the contracts are in place. We are ready to start the work once we get risk guarantees from the IDA and MIGA financial institutions (both part of the World Bank Group),” he said.
The US$775 million project will see 365 wind turbines erected near Lake Turkana – where wind blows predictably and consistently at an average speed of 11 metres per second.
The wind farm will sit on 40,000 acres in Loiyangalani district, stretching from 450 metres at the shore of Lake Turkana to 2,300 metres above sea level at the top of Mt Kulal. This area has strong winds thanks to the daily temperature fluctuations.
The initial site work will include construction of a 204 km road for the trucks which will transport materials for the project in the remote region.
A 428 km transmission line will also be constructed to link the wind farm to the national grid at a cost of US$178 million.
The transmission line will be built by Isolux Corsan of Spain and funded by loans from the Kenyan and Spanish governments.
“We expect to start production of the first 50 MW in mid-2014 and reach full capacity in early 2015, by which time we should have installed capacity of 300 MW,” Van Wageningen said.
The firm has entered into a contract to sell electricity to utility company Kenya Power for 20 years at a cost of US$10c/kWh, which is the lowest in the country.
The African Development Bank will arrange loans to cover 70 per cent of the project cost, with the remaining 30 per cent from private investment funds and co-developers.