Lake Turkana Wind Power

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Camels stand before the turbines of the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya, Africa. Photo courtesy of Twitter.

In a bid to boost the ambitious goal of 100 percent green energy by 2020, Kenya has launched the biggest wind farm in Africa.

Lake Turkana Wind Power Project partnered with Anset Africa in 2006 (a company in­volved in project development and management in areas of tourism, bio gas energy, telecommunications and road con­struction) and KP&P Africa (a company that develops and operates wind energy projects) in discussions with the Kenyan government in wind power near Lake Turkana.

As a result of extensive wind assessment and fieldwork, the project was approved

The project is situated be­tween two mountains, which produce a tunnel effect in which wind streams are ac­celerated to high speeds. The Turkana wind corridor is a low-level jet stream that originates from the Indian Ocean and blows year-round.

The wind farm is comprised of 365 turbines, each with a flow capacity of 850 kilovolts each and a high voltage sub­station that has been connected to the national grid through an associated transmission line connected by the Kenyan gov­ernment. It covers 160-square kilometers (40,000 acres)

It is the single largest private investment in Kenyan history. The $700 million wind farm aims to provide 310 megawatts of reliable, low-cost power — enough to supply 1 million homes.

The company that owns and is developing the wind farm is called Lake Turkana Wind Power LTD. It includes equity partners, financial partners and donors. The company has established a program for the community called Winds of Change (WOC).

This program has since com­mitted to changing the liveli­hoods for communities in the project areas. They have up­graded health services, physi­cal infrastructure and partnered with stakeholders to support targeted outreach projects that include intercommunity relations, sports and constructing community storage facilities. They have also created jobs, helped with education, voca­tional training, housing and help with food security.

Furthermore, the project will allow the landlocked Great Rift Valley region to be con­nected to the rest of the country through infrastructure linked to the wind farm including a road, fiberoptic cable and electric­ity. This zero-emission project will contribute to fulfilling the energy gap in the country, enhancing diversification and saving 16 million tons of car­bon emissions compared to a fossil fuel-powered power plant.

This is a big step forward, especially since the courts stopped a 981 MV coal plant in consideration of the impact on the land and Kenyan people. The wind farm will be able to save $1 billion ksh or $10 mil­lion annually on fuel imports to generate electricity.

Renewables 2018 global status report has Kenya as the ninth in geothermal generating capacity, tops in Africa at 700 MW. The project offers model wind power in Africa.

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