American technology giant Google has cancelled plans to buy a 12.5% stake in Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP), in Kenya Africa’s largest wind farm that was officially commissioned last July. Denmark based firm, Vestas, recently disclosed that Google had ended the quest to buy its stake in LTWP after delays in the project.
Vestas explained that the 310MW Lake Turkana wind farm was initially set for completion in 2017, after which Google had committed to buy the stake from the company (Vestas). However, the delays led to Google cancelling the agreement last year. “Due to delays relating primarily to the transmission line, the Vestas agreement with Google was cancelled in 2019,” said Vestas.
The wind farm was ready for launch in 2017, but remained idle due to delays in installing transmission lines needed to get the clean power to the national grid and customers. The 428km power line from Loiyangalani in northern Kenya to Suswa in Narok County was set to be completed by October 2016, but demands for compensation from landowners along the route and other issues delayed it.
The line was further delayed after a Spanish firm contracted to build the line went under. Kenya then tapped a Chinese company to complete it. The Lake Turkana wind farm is expected to provide 15% of Kenya’s total electricity needs.
Renewable energy investments
Besides its online advertising business, Google also runs other ventures, including investments in renewable energy projects. It has invested billions of dollars in solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 5,475MW to generate returns besides contributing to efforts in fighting climate change.
“In 2017, we became the first company of our size to match our entire annual electricity consumption with renewable energy (and then we did it again in 2018),” said Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. “As a result, we became the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world,” he added. Google now has an interest in 52 renewable energy projects around the world, committing more than US $7bn to construction that will create thousands of new jobs.