East Africa will soon get its largest wind power project - the Lake Turkana Wind farm

Environmental management initiatives at the LTWP site

An Environmental and Social Management/Monitoring Plan will be rolled out at the project site to ensure that the effects on the environment are accurately observed and recorded for proper action. The plan will be implemented to help counter the negative effects expected from the project such as increased noise level and possible collisions of wildlife with the spinning turbines - there is a potential to disrupt bird habitats, effect other wildlfe and cause some pollution through the construction. Data will aid bodies such as the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to act accordingly. The site will also have an Environmental and Social Development Manager to see that environmental and social issues are handled as per the law.

Among the facilities set for construction as part of LTWP are 426km of power lines, credit LTWP

Complex but successful project financing

The US$694 million project is being undertaken by the Lake Turkana Wind Power Consortium, which is formed by a collaboration of Aldwych International (UK), Industrial Development Corporation, IFU (Denmark), KP&P Africa B.V, Norfund and Wind Power Invest A.S. A complex financing partnership led by the African Development Bank (AfDB) (financing/lender broker to the project) also brings together corporations such as European Investment Bank (EIB), the Standard Bank of South Africa, Nedbank, Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), Proparco, East African Development Bank (EADB), PTA Bank, EKF, Triodos and DEG.

Support by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) therefore, could not have come at a better time. OPIC has contributed US$ 253m, and the U.S. Government’s development finance institution’s president Elizabeth Littlefield said that the project was crucial in seeing through U.S. support for cheap electricity supply in the country. She said the project would support the USA’s Power Africa program that seeks an additional 30,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more efficient electricity in sub-Sahara Africa and grid connection of additional 60 million homes. The World Bank has also contributed US$ 20m through the International Finance Corporation (IFC) towards the LTWP project.

Vestas has won the deal to supply the 365 Vestas V52-850kW wind turbines and will also carry out maintenance. A total of 204kms of road network will also be constructed for accessibility to the site and to allow transportation of the turbines. In addition, 426 km of power lines will be installed to hook the power into the national grid. 

Project to spur confidence among other investors

The project is expected to spur confidence among other investors as William Macpherson, sub-Saharan African energy analyst at African Energy Consultancy has said before. "It's a renewable plant -- which is harder to get right than other power plants -- and that it looks like it will be online relatively soon shows the government has got its priorities right" he said.

On February this year, the project won the African Renewables Deal of the Year 2014 award in the IJGlobal Awards 2014 Europe & Africa held in London.