Durban, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 12 December 2011 – A financing deal for Kenya’s largest wind power farm will be concluded in the first quarter of next year, its sponsors said, setting East Africa’s largest economy on the path to becoming the region’s leader in renewable energy.
Lake Turkana Wind Power chairman Carlo Van Wageningen told participants at the climate change talks here that conclusion of the deal paves the way for the US$800 million plant to produce the first 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity in the third quarter of next year, before rising to full capacity a year later.
“We expect to close the financing deal in March or April 2012 and to have full production of 300 MW a year later,” he said.
The announcement comes a year after the Kenyan Treasury offered the financiers guarantees they had sought against political and other risks.
The Turkana wind farm, billed as one of the largest in the world, is being financed through a 30% syndicated loan arranged by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Other financiers are the Standard and Nedbank of South Africa; BKF, a Danish development bank; and the European Investment Bank.
The project is 51% owned by Aldywich International, South Africa’s IDB (25%), Pan Africa Investment Development Fund and Vestas “’ the leading Danish manufacturer of wind turbines (12.5%) and the six co-founders (6.5%).
.The Turkana wind power company hopes to produce electricity at the cost of €7.52 cents per kilowatt hour making it the cheapest power source in Kenya.
Once completed, it is expected to account for 22% of Kenya’s electricity demand, in addition to the 400MW geothermal power that is expected to be on the national grid in the next four years.
Together with hydro-electric power that already accounts for more than 70% of Kenya’s electricity needs, these two projects are set to make the country nearly 100% dependent on environmentally-friendly energy sources, and to smooth out fluctuation in output from hydro sources.
Lake Turkana Wind Power plans to build at least 353 wind turbines. Each unit, to be procured from the world’s top marker of wind turbines, Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark, has the capacity to produce 850KW of electricity.