Google invests in Kenya’s giant Turkana wind farm

Google will invest in Africa’s largest wind farm, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in northern Kenya.

The internet behemoth will buy into the project by purchasing turbine maker Vestas’ 12.5% stake in the scheme once it comes online, it said last week.

A host of international corporations have already invested in Turkana, making it the single largest private sector investment in Kenya’s history.

The farm will be located on the southeastern shore of Lake Turkana, 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.

Once delivered, the $728m project will supply enough electricity to power roughly two million households.

Rick Needham, Google’s energy and sustainability director said: "Kenya ranks among the world’s fastest-growing economies and has goals of universal energy access and increasing capacity of the grid by 5GW by the end of the decade. Lake Turkana can help meet these goals."

He added: "It offers one of the best wind resources in the world in terms of speed and consistency, and once operational, will deliver capacity equivalent to about 15% of Kenya’s current grid."

To date, Google has invested roughly $2bn in 22 clean and renewable energy projects around the world.

Photograph: A Vestas wind turbine in Denmark (Vestas)

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