Google is rumoured to be considering taking a minority stake in the $728m Lake Turkana wind power scheme in Kenya, set to be Africa’s biggest wind farm.
The 40,000-acre undertaking is the largest private investment in the history of the East African country, and Google is in discussions to back it, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC.
Google declined to comment, and a Turkana project representative said that Google was not involved "at present".
Lake Turkana will provide approximately 15% of total power generation in Kenya, equivalent to the needs of around 330,000 households–
The Internet giant has invested more than $2bn in next-generation energy production so far, but mostly in the US – although in 2013, Google invested $12m in South Africa’s Jasper Power Project, one of the largest solar installations in Africa.
The Turkana scheme has already raised all the money it needs, but a Google investment would be a boost of confidence for other investors, said Kwame Parker, head of power and infrastructure for East Africa at South Africa’s Standard Bank, in an email to CNBC.
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.
Once operational, Lake Turkana will provide approximately 15% of total power generation in Kenya, equivalent to the needs of around 330,000 households.
It is due to be finished in 2017.
Photograph: South Island of Lake Turkana, Kenya (Wikimedia Commons)