Kenya unveils Africa’s largest Wind Power Project
By Rolex Owino
Kenya continues to make significant strides in its dedication to becoming a renewable energy powerhouse. The East African nation has recently (July, 2019) unveiled Africa’s largest wind power project in a gusty and rocky desert stretch located 600 kilometres (372 miles) north of the capital, Nairobi. The Lake Turkana Wind Power farm consists of 365 turbines, with a capacity to dispense 310 megawatts of reliable, low-cost energy – to Kenya’s national grid.
The wind farm is located in the Turkana Wind Corridor, where strong winds travelling between Mount Kulal to the north and Mount Nyiru to the south – create ideal wind conditions to generate power from wind turbines.
The Turkana plant was funded by a consortium of African and European companies, with Kenya expected to buy the resultant clean power energy at a fixed price over a 20-year period. The project is aimed at boosting Kenya’s electricity supply, moving the country away from the dependence on fossil fuels, and meeting its ambitious goal of 100% green energy use by 2020. Officials also hope that scaling renewable investments will reduce manufacturing production costs and in turn – create much-needed jobs.
During the inauguration, Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, called the wind plant a “monumental feat”, and said it showcased Kenya’s commitment to pursue clean sources of energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Kenya generates about 70% of its electricity from renewable sources, and the country is among the world’s leading countries in the geothermal sector. Renewable energy projects such as the Garissa solar power project and the Ngong wind plant have also increased Kenya’s installed electricity capacity in recent years.
Increasingly, off-grid renewable energy companies like M-Kopa, Azuri, and Mobisol have introduced innovative services that can reach rural and urban dwellers, where traditional grids are unavailable. These companies mostly offer pay-as-you-go solar power that users can buy and manage through their mobile phones.
Since the Turkana project was connected to the national grid last September, President Kenyatta said the plant injected more than 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and saved taxpayers up to 8 billion shillings ($77.5 million) from reduced usage of diesel-generated thermal power.
Source: ASV & Quartz Africa