Kenya’s pursuit for cheaper power is beckoning with US$ 6.8 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project expected in the second quarter of 2016.
Phylip Leferink, General Manager of the project said he is pleased with the advancement in the haulage of turbines to the site from the port of Mombasa and between May and June the firm will be set to add more power to the national grid.
He stated once the transmission lines are ready, the project may start a month in advance .“We have installed more than 200 turbines in the past six months, out of the wind 365 turbines required on completion,” he said.
“The 310 MW turbines, which are linked to 52 meter rotors, are raised on towers stretching up to 44 meters high across the arid Sarima Village, in Marsabit County. Once finished, the project will be the leading wind farm in Africa,” said Mr. Leferink.
The wind farm aspires to provide dependable, low cost wind power to Kenya’s national grid, equal to roughly 18 per cent of the nation’s current installed electricity generating capacity. The firm said the turbines are already being tested for power generation.
The wind farm is estimated to be done by June 2017, with a turbine being installed every day. “By managing to hoist these turbines within the predetermined time, the team has not only attained a technological accomplishment, but also navigated via a logistical challenge of getting all the turbines here in Loiyangalani, which is 1200 KM from the port of Mombasa,” he said.
Delays on completion of transmission lines linking Lake Turkana Wind Power project to the national grid are anticipated to obscure the firm’s plan in delivering electricity to the grid. The transmission line was projected to be done by October, but the state owned Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) is behind schedule, after it was smacked by compensation dispute with the communities along the line.
The wind company says it is still on course. The assembly of the turbines commenced in March 2016 after the civil works on the foundations of the initial lot of turbines had been done.
The turbine technology is of Danish origin but the manufacturing of the turbines, blades and towers was done in the Vestas manufacturing facilities in China. “We are pleased with the progress that we have made so far; we are working with our project partners to guarantee that we complete this wind farm within the set time. This will ensure that we will soon be able to play a paramount role in Kenya’s energy supply and make a important input towards the nation’s economic growth,” Leferink explained. The firm targets to introduce the first 90 MW of wind power into the national grid by the second quarter of 2017.
When operating at complete capacity, Lake Turkana Wind Power will add 310 MW of renewable generation capacity to Kenya’s grid. This production from the wind farm will be sufficient to power more than 1 million Kenyan homes.
The Marsabit-based wind farm has a 20-year deal to sell electricity at Sh8.6 per kilowatt/hour (kWh) to Kenya Power. The farm sits on 40,000 acres of land in a region that gets stable winds throughout the year.
The power will be evacuated and conveyed to the national grid through a double circuit 400kV, 438km transmission line that is presently being built by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco). Kenya, which depends heavily on renewables such as geothermal and hydro-power, aspires to expand installed capacity to about 6,700 MW by 2017.