Construction starts on Africa’s biggest wind farm

Construction has finally begun on Africa’s largest wind power project, the $728m Lake Turkana wind power development in Kenya. The scheme will cover 40,000 acres, and will be Kenya’s largest ever private investment. 

The development will be located on the south-eastern shore of Lake Turkana in the north of the country, where the average wind speed is more than 11 metres a second. It will have a peak output of 310MW, generated by 365 Vestas V52-850kW wind turbines.  

Ketraco, the Kenyan national grid company, is constructing a 450km transmission line to connect Nairobi with the town of Loyangalani near the project site.  

UK consulting engineer Mott MacDonald is providing construction and operations monitoring of the wind farm and environment and social monitoring for the transmission line. It had previously performed technical, environmental and social due diligence on behalf of the lenders during the project’s financing stage. 

Lake Turkana has attracted financial support from a wide range of development funders, including the European Investment Bank, the Standard Bank of South Africa, Nedbank, Proparco, the East African Development Bank, PTA Bank, Triodos and DEG. The lead lender was the African Development Bank. 

Matthias Vinard, Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said: "Once operational, Lake Turkana will provide approximately 15% of total power generation in Kenya, equivalent to the needs of around 330,000 households." 

The scheme will enable the electrification of nearby rural areas which have previously had no electricity. It is due to be finished in 2017. 

A Mott MacDonald-assisted satellite has recently completed testing in space.

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