Lake Turkana Wind Power has achieved a new milestone, having installed 155 turbines of 365 turbines in the past six months. The 310 MW turbines, which are attached to 52 meter rotors are hoisted on towers stretching up to 44 meters high across the arid Sarima Village, in Marsabit County. Once completed, the project will be the largest wind farm in Africa.
According to the company, the Vestas turbines are already being tested for power generation. Lake Turkana Wind Power is expected to complete the installation process of the full wind farm by June 2017, with a turbine being installed daily.
“By managing to hoist these turbines within the stipulated time, the team has not only achieved a technological feat, but also navigated through a logistical challenge of getting all the turbines here in Loiyangalani, which is 1200km from the port of Mombasa. This is a clear demonstration that we are on course to launching the largest wind farm in Africa on time,” said Lake Turkana Wind Power General Manager, Phylip Leferink.
The assembly of the turbines began in March 2016 after the civil works on the foundations of the first batch of turbines had been completed. The various parts, including the blades were transported by road to the site from the port of Mombasa.
The turbine technology is of Danish origin but the production of the turbines, blades and towers was done in the Vestas manufacturing facilities in China.
“We are impressed with the progress that we have made so far; we are working with our project partners to ensure that we complete this wind farm within the stipulated time. This will ensure that we will soon be able to play a key role in Kenya’s energy supply and make a significant contribution towards the country’s economic growth,” Leferink explained.
The firm targets to inject the first 90 MW of wind power into the national grid by the second quarter of 2017. When operating at full capacity, Lake Turkana Wind Power will add 310 MW of renewable generation capacity to Kenya’s grid. This output from the wind farm will be enough to power more than 1 million Kenyan households.
The Marsabit-based wind firm has a 20-year deal to sell electricity at Sh8.6 per kilowatt/hour (kWh) to Kenya Power. The farm sits on 40,000 acres of land in an area that receives steady winds throughout the year.
The power will be evacuated and transmitted to the national grid through a double circuit 400kV, 438km transmission line that is currently being constructed by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).
Kenya, which relies heavily on renewables such as geothermal and hydro-power, aims to expand installed capacity to about 6,700 MW by 2017, up from 1,700 MW in 2013.