Despite efforts put in place to ensure energy projects run swiftly in realisation of a better manufacturing sector, Kenya lost an opportunity for a Ksh4 billion investment by American technology giant Google who cancelled plans to buy a 12.5% stake in Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power.
In a report by Reuters on Tuesday, February 11, Vestas Ltd that operates the wind plant confirmed that Google cancelled the plans to buy the stake after the multi-billion project failed to be completed in 2017 as earlier expected.
“The 310 megawatt (MW) Lake Turkana wind farm was initially set for completion in 2017, after which Google had committed to buy the stake from Vestas. However, the delays led to Google cancelling the agreement last year.
“Due to delays relating primarily to the transmission line, the Vestas agreement with Google was cancelled in 2019,” read a statement by Vestas.
Vestas also indicated that local and international demands and failure to meet deadlines also played a part in the delay of the project launch.
“Demands for compensation from landowners along the route and other issues delayed it. The line was further delayed after a Spanish firm contracted to build the line went under.
“Kenya then tapped a Chinese company to complete it. The Lake Turkana wind farm is expected to provide 15 percent of Kenya’s total electricity needs,” further read the statement.
In July 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta officially inaugurated the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Power project aimed at reducing electricity costs in the country.
The inauguration also saw the commissioning of the 438km Loiyangalani-Suswa transmission line which connects the wind farm to the national grid.
The president lauded the wind farm terming it as a first in the region in terms of production capacity and investment.
“Today, we again raise the bar for the continent as we unveil the single largest wind farm,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta, after touring the project.
“Kenya is without a doubt on course to become a world leader in renewable energy,” remarked the president as quoted by the Daily Nation.
The president also stated that the project would see Kenya use less money in electricity production per unit.
“Without the wind power project, the fuel cost charge would have been as high as Ksh5.75 kWh in May 2019 as compared to Ksh3.75 kWh the cost that was applied in that particular month.
“As we unveil Africa’s single largest wind power, this monumental project comprising 365 wind turbines of 850 KW each, with a total installed capacity of 310MW,” added President Kenyatta.