Farmer derails construction of Lake Turkana wind farm powerline

Farmer derails construction of Lake Turkana wind farm powerline

A farmer from Nyandarua has acquired court orders preventing the continuation of the construction of electricity transmission lines that are meant to connect Lake Turkana wind farm to the national grid, a move that could cost consumers billions of shillings in additional penalties payable to the power producer.

The farmer, from the flower farm Afriscan (Kenya Limited), said that the construction of the line cannot continue until they are paid the remaining outstanding US $27m compensation for the planned acquisition of its land for purposes of building the line.

The flower farm argued that the construction of the power lines in their farms had destroyed their irrigation system, matured flowers, and other assets that ground their operations.

Construction delays

The Chinese company Power China Guizhou Engineering Company which was hired to complete construction of the line has to suspend the work in that section of the line until the court issues fresh orders.

Construction of the power line began in late in 2015, and is way behind time, having been held up by land compensation demands and last year’s termination of the Isolux contract.This delay has cost the wind power producer billions of shillings in fines, these fines are now to be paid by taxpayers.

Also Read:Kenya strikes deal to defer US $10m monthly fine for Lake Turkana wind power delay

Various businesses along with citizen’s homes will incur a bill totaling to US $10m  in monthly electricity bills after failing to connect the country to the Lake Turkana Wind Power.Halting construction of power line, which is 428 kilometers long, has left wind farm developers stranded with power since 2017 with pressing issues such as loan repayments.

The Kenyan treasury put aside and wired US $51m to Lake Turkana in September 2017 and the fine will be recovered this year from consumers via monthly bills.

“This application is hereby certified urgent and should be served upon the respondent within seven days for inter parties hearing on May 23, 2018,” Justice Mary Oundo said even as she ordered that the status quo be maintained.

The flower farm, Afriscan, is seeking compensation of US $12m for lost earnings and destroyed crops from last year and additional US $12m to cover the entire infrastructure.

Afriscan entered an agreement with Ketraco in 2015 to allow the power lines pass through the farm subject to prompt compensation. However, no reimbursement has been imminent even as his crops are destroyed, his high voltage lighting system demolished which further increases his losses.

Mr.Mwangi from Afriscan said that Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) forcibly entered his farm in early 2017 and began construction. This caused the farm to take a number of loans to keep developing the farm and has made it suffer from heavy losses as a result.

The flower firm also accuses the Agriculture and Food Authority of attempting to defraud it of its assets by omitting the infrastructure aspect from the report it submitted to Ketraco in February 2018.

Afriscan says it gave Ketraco an offer of US $4m as an advance compensation, which the state firm allegedly ignored.

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