Africa’s largest windfarm bags crucial AfDB loan

3 May 2013

Kenya’s $760 million Lake Turkana Wind Power project, intended to be the largest wind farm in Africa, has received a boost with the granting of a $150-million loan by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Situated in the barren southern end of the Rift Valley, the scheme aims to harness the region’s reliable winds to generate 300 megawatts of energy for Kenya’s national grid.

Promoters say it will add an extra 20% to Kenya’s electricity generating capacity and bring power to many people now without a reliable supply.

Although the AfDB loan accounts for only 20% of finance required for the scheme, the approval is seen as crucial to the project’s success.

The windy southern end of Kenya’s Rift Valley will sprout 365 wind turbines if the project goes ahead. (Credit: Lake Turkana Wind Power)

A loan of $130 million is also being considered by the European Investment Bank.

This public-private enterprise involves the Danish and Norwegian governments, Kemperman Paardekooper & Partners, Aldwych International and the turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems.

The scheme would have 365 turbines laid out over 162 square kilometres.

It would also require the rehabilitation of about 200 kilometres of road and the laying of a 428-kilometre-long transmission line between the Marsabit region and the town of Suswa, which is the nearest point to Kenya’s national grid.

There are plans to develop additional windfarms along the path of the transmission line, as well as geothermal energy.

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