Earlier this year, the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) farm, consisting of 365 turbines, recorded its highest capacity factor rating.
In March 2021, the LTWP plant’s consortium announced that it had recorded a “good month” having achieved an average capacity factor of 75.8%, “the highest in the 31 months that we have been in operation.”
The capacity factor is a unitless measurement of how much electricity a generation plant is producing over a given period. It is a ratio of how much power the generator is producing, to how much power it would be producing at maximum.
Each of the 365 wind turbines has a capacity of 850kW, and a high voltage substation.
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Maintenance associated with Lake Turkana wind farm record achievement
According to LTWP’s chief technical officer, Wellington Otieno, the high-capacity factor was achievable owing to strong winds, and good maintenance of the wind farm.
“LTWP is situated in one of the best locations on the planet for onshore wind production. The high wind speeds brought about by the tunnel formed between Mt. Kulal and Mt. Nyiro mean our capacity factor is much higher than the rest of the world. Other factors such as the availability of the resource used for generation, and downtime of components for maintenance, or normal wear and tear leading to breakdown also come into play.” said Wellington.
A higher capacity factor means that the plant is supplying more renewable energy produced from wind to the Kenyan national grid, and reducing dependence on polluting and expensive diesel power.
The LTWP wind farm is connected to the Kenyan national grid through a 435km associated transmission line. The transmission network was constructed by the Government of Kenya through the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO).