Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 28 March 2011 – Investors behind Kenya’s 300MW Lake Turkana wind power project have announced that construction will start by December, following the issue by the government of a letter of support for the private venture.
The US$870 million Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project had been scheduled to inject an initial 50MW into the national grid by June, and to be at full capacity a year later. Last week, LTWP said the project start had been delayed to the end of 2013 due to lack of letters of credit.
LTWP is a subsidiary of KP&P, a firm from the Netherlands that sets up wind power projects.
“We now look to breaking ground by December, to having the initial 50MW running on the national grid by September 2013, and to reaching full capacity by mid 2014,” LTWP Chairman Carlo Van Wageningen told Reuters at a function for the signing of the government letter of support. “With the letter of support we now expect to be able to close financial loan deals as soon as possible, and to get going with the work,” he added.
“Regrettably we had delays on the way, but the new commitment by the Kenyan government resolves several issues that had been raised by some of our targeted financiers,” Van Wageningen said.
LTWP would inject about US$250 million into the project as equity, representing a 30% stake, he continued.
The project involves building a wind farm within Loiyangalani, a remote region in the northwest near the Lake Turkana basin. The venture will consist of 365 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kilowatts, and is the first of its kind in Kenya. LTWP already has an agreement with Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems to supply 360 turbines.
The 300MW that LTWP will generate will be transmitted to the national grid through a 428km overhead line it will build for the government to deliver the electricity to the state-run Kenya Power and Lighting Company.
“We are certain that the government letter of support will help unlock the investment potential of other Independent Power Producers,” Energy Ministry permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike said.
“The Kenyan government will earn about US$20 million in carbon credit earnings,” Finance Ministry permanent secretary Joseph Kinyua told Reuters. “These proceeds will be ploughed back towards the improvement of the lives of households in the Turkana region,” he said.