Work on Africa's biggest wind farm in Kenya to begin

Mar 24, 2012
Wind turbines are seen in the Ngong hills, near Nairobi. The construction of what is to become Africa's biggest wind farm will start by June in an arid region of northern Kenya, the project's officials have said.

The construction of what is to become Africa's biggest wind farm will start by June in an arid region of northern Kenya, the project's officials said on Saturday.

A total of 365 will be erected near Lake Turkana, where winds blow predictably and regularly, averaging speeds of 11 metres per second.

After seven years of study and funding negotiations, the 585 million euro ($775 million) project is to take off in June once risk guarantees from the Ida and Miga -- part of the World Bank Group -- are finalised, Carlo Van Wageningen, head of Lake Turkana , told AFP.

"All the contracts are in place. We're ready to start" the work once we get these garantees, he said.

The first step will be to improve on or build 204 kilometres (126 miles) of road in northern Kenya for the trucks that will make 12,000 trips to bring in all the materials for the project in the remote, neglected region.

"We're in the middle of nowhere. There is no infrastructure whatsoever," Van Wageningen said, adding that the wind farm site resembles "photos of the surface of the moon."

A 428-kilometre transmission line will also be built to link the wind farm to the national grid at an additional cost of 142 million euros.

The will be built by Isolux Corsan of Spain and financed by loans from the Spanish and Kenyan governments.

The wind farm is expected to start production of the first 50 MW in mid-2014 and reach full capacity in early 2015, by which time it should have an installed capacity of 300 megawatts.

Total in Kenya was 6,460 MW hours in 2008, half from , one-third from oil and 16 percent from geothermal power, according to the Global Energy Network Institute.

Morocco currently boasts Africa's largest wind energy production, with a capacity of 140 from 165 turbines.

The consortium for the Kenyan project has entered into a contract to sell the power produced to utility firm Kenya Power over 20 years at a cost of 7.52 euro cents/kwh, a price, which, together with geothermal, is the lowest in Kenya.

"Here you can produce windpower at an interesting cost, without subsidies," unlike the case in Europe, Van Wageningen said.

The African Development Bank said it was "heading the financing process" to arrange for a loan that will cover 70 percent of the project cost. Others are Britain's Standard Bank and South Africa's Nedbank.

The remaining 30 percent is financed by investment funds and co-developers.

Van Wageningen said the project is the largest private investment in East Africa.

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Telekinetic
3.3 / 5 (18) Mar 24, 2012
The "smart money" is investing in wind and solar power. Soon the East Coast will have offshore wind-generated electric thanks to Google's ambitious plan of a sea floor grid of electrical cables.
Maybe the planet has a few friends that will make a profit without destruction.
210
3.2 / 5 (9) Mar 24, 2012
The "smart money" is investing in wind and solar power. Soon the East Coast will have offshore wind-generated electric thanks to Google's ambitious plan of a sea floor grid of electrical cables.
Maybe the planet has a few friends that will make a profit without destruction.


ALLRIGHT 'Telekinetic'...you are scaring me with this enormous outburst of wisdom, vision, empathy, and hopefulness....Please forgive, and I know we have had our differences, BUT, I gave you a FIVE and I am hoping I get to do THAT again!!!

word-to-ya-muthas
Shelgeyr
2 / 5 (12) Mar 24, 2012
Sad. I expect Kenya hardly has the money to waste on a debacle of this kind. This is me not holding my breath that the project ever turns profitable.
Telekinetic
2.7 / 5 (11) Mar 24, 2012
Sad. I expect Kenya hardly has the money to waste on a debacle of this kind. This is me not holding my breath that the project ever turns profitable.

@ Shelgeyr:
While you're still playing with MONOPOLY money pretending you're in high finance, the Standard Bank, an old British Bank from South Africa, doesn't throw its money at folly or, in your case, board games. This is a serious investment with plenty of due diligence. What's that I hear? Mumsy calling you down for dinner?
Jeddy_Mctedder
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 25, 2012
africa is the ideal place for wind and solar power. why?
because when they have oil , it gets stolen, when they have coal, they can't get enough money to build giant coal burning factories with steam generators ....note that south africa burns more coal than the rest of africa combined .........small source to electricity projects that don't need massive investments the likes of which are required for coal ( i.e. gigantic investments in railroads and mining equipment let alone the absurdly big investment in a coal furnace power generator )-----------

are much easier to solicit because they are much 'safer' in terms of scope, viability, simplicity...etc....

although coal sounds easier----it requires far greater political/economic integration and stability which most african countries lack. in a way----it mirrors the leapfrogging we see with cell towers and the roll out of cellular service and cell phones to africans by passing the build in of land line infrastructure.
Eikka
1 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2012
Total energy generation in Kenya was 6,460 MW hours in 2008, half from hydroelectric power, one-third from oil and 16 percent from geothermal power, according to the Global Energy Network Institute.


Surely that is incorrect. There are 8,760 hours in a year, so they'd be running just 0.7 MW of generating capacity on average. A handful of diesel generators could make that much.

I suspect they mean 6,460 GW-h, which would make a whole lot more sense. In contrast to that, 300 MW of wind power would make about 500 GW-h a year, or 10% of the country's energy.
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
Apparently while working on his stand-up comedy act, @Telekinetic said:
...the Standard Bank, an old British Bank from South Africa, doesn't throw its money at folly...

OK, now THAT's funny. You're good.

This is a serious investment with plenty of due diligence.

Stop! You're killing me! Let me catch my breath!
This is a political project.
If it is profitable over its 20 year lifespan, I'll happily eat my words. In the meantime, the state of the industry worldwide is against that being the case, and history is on my side.
Telekinetic
2.6 / 5 (10) Mar 25, 2012
"The consortium for the Kenyan project has entered into a contract to sell the power produced to utility firm Kenya Power over 20 years at a cost of 7.52 euro cents/kwh, a price, which, together with geothermal, is the lowest in Kenya."- from the article

"If it is profitable over its 20 year lifespan, I'll happily eat my words." -Shelgeyr

The 20 years is the lifespan of the CONTRACT. Do you think they'll dismantle the wind farm after 20 years? They will renegotiate the contract at the end of 20 years, to adjust for upkeep, new equipment upgrades, and market prices. At that point, it will likely be very profitable, because the raw material that makes the generators spin is FREE. So Shelgeyr, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200...
RochelleBr
not rated yet Mar 25, 2012
a price, which, together with geothermal, is the lowest in Kenya."- from the article
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
None of the turbines will last 20 years. The gearboxes will fail in 5-7 years.

Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2012
Odd quote Telekinetic posted - as if I had not read what they claimed the electricity price to the public was planned to be. That's IMHO immaterial in light of the overall financing and government subsidies involved. It's also not relevant to my original objection to the project.

I'm aware 20 years is the lifespan of the CONTRACT (Ow! My ears! Or eyes!) Do I think they'll dismantle after 20 years? Well, that depends on several factors. They don't "have to" of course, but historical evidence suggests "Yes, probably". In fact, likely before 20 years are up. My point, which I hope was clear, is that Kenya would do well to abandon the wind farm BEFORE IT IS-, excuse me, didn't mean to shout..., before it is even built.

Also, what is your obsession with Monopoly? I mean, of course, other than a government-owned one? (Rimshot!)

Also:
http://www.americ...s_1.html
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2012
@Telekinetic also said:
At that point, it will likely be very profitable, because the raw material that makes the generators spin is FREE.


You just proved you know nothing about wind turbine farms, and that you think in very unrealistic and extremely over-simplistic terms.

Besides, they're building in Kenya, not Fantasy Land. And even those that are built in Fantasy Land (defined here as "California") are being bankrupted, abandoned in droves, sued into oblivion, and in many cases left to spin in no-load "virtual load" mode, generating nothing, just to give warm fuzzies to passers by on the highways, fooling them into thinking something great is being done to "Save the Planet"(tm).
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2012
"The consortium for the Kenyan project has entered into a contract to sell the power produced to utility firm Kenya Power over 20 years at a cost of 7.52 euro cents/kwh,"- from the article

"Odd quote Telekinetic posted - as if I had not read what they claimed the electricity price to the public was planned to be."- Shelgeyr
The price is not, as you say, to the public, but rather to Kenya Power. So much for your comprehension.
Shelgeyr
2 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2012
@Telekinetic said:
The price is not, as you say, to the public, but rather to Kenya Power. So much for your comprehension.

Ya got me. I should have said to Kenya Power. So what? The point is that that price says nothing at all about whether or not the project will be profitable - truly profitable, not fudged money, forgiven-subsidy profitable - over its lifetime.

I could have erroneously said they were selling the power directly to Mars, and aside from that grievous, unforgivable mistake, my point still holds.

So seriously, what exactly is your problem with me predicting - not "claiming", mind you but predicting - that the project won't be profitable and is a bad deal for Kenya?
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2012
A month nearly passes by, and the crickets still chirp...