The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project meant to add 300MW of reliable, low cost wind energy to the national grid in Kenya reached a milestone following the signing of R 9.4billion financing agreements in Nairobi, Kenya.
The signing represents a breakthrough to actualising the biggest clean power energy project in Africa, says Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners.
The Project will benefit Kenya, and specifically the Turkana area where unemployment is high, with jobs, economic development and, most importantly, electricity which is vital in any economy.
LTWP has signed a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement with the government of Kenya through its electricity entity, Kenya Power.
LTWP is responsible for financing, construction and operation of the wind farm and comprise a grouping of investors and lenders with financial experience and technical capabilities on the African continent. They include FMO, Vestas, Finnfund, IFU and a strong local sponsor KP&P on the equity side. The syndicate of banks is led by the African Development Bank and comprises Standard Bank, Nedbank, EIB, DEG and Proparco.
The project will be located on one of the best sites in the world, with exceptionally high wind speeds, from one direction, not seasonal, and low in turbulence. The project site is on the southeast border of Lake Turkana between two high ranging mountains in the Turkana Corridor where a low level jet stream originating in the Indian Ocean creates favourable wind conditions.
Mahloele says the LTWP will essentially assist diversify Kenya’s energy mix and reduce the country’s reliance on power production from oil and diesel power generators. The LTWP tax contribution to Kenya will be approximately R 293m annually and R 5.9billion over the life of the investment.
This project forms part of Harith’s commitment to the United States backed Power Plan announced last year by US President Barack Obama to bring more than 10 000 MW of electricity to sub Saharan Africa. Through Power Africa, Harith has committed R 760m for wind energy in Kenya and R5.4billion across the African power sector.
Mahloele says the investment is the result of the forward thinking and planning on the part of the Kenyan leadership who had undertaken comprehensive power sector reforms over the past decade.
In Kenya, electricity is mainly generated from hydro, thermal and geothermal sources. Wind generation accounts for less than six megawatts of the installed capacity. Currently, hydro power comprises over 52 percent of the installed capacity in Kenya and is sourced from various stations managed by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).
The Lake Turkana Wind Project will reduce Kenya’s reliance on hydropower which is vulnerable to periodraught seasons, says Mahloele.
July 6, 2015; Lake Turkana Wind Power Project. Nexus News: