Kenya gives go-ahead for Africa’s largest wind farm

18 Dec 2014

Vertas Wind System's 3MW wind farm in MacArthur, Australia. Image via Vestas Wind Systems A/S

Vestas Wind Systems has been given the green light by the Kenyan government to build Africa’s largest wind farm as part of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project.

The project will see 310MW of power generated by the 365 wind turbines, each of which will generate 850kW of energy making it the largest single order for wind turbines in the Danish company’s history.

The project will be built 1,200km from the city of Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, and once it is completed will have the capacity to provide as much as 15pc of the country’s entire energy demands.

According to the release from Vestas Wind Systems, the turbines will save the east African country approximately €150m in fuel imports every year and will join the company’s portfolio among other African nations including Cape Verde, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, the latter of which was, until now, the largest wind farm in Africa.

Lake Turkana in Kenya. Image via Flickr/International Rivers/Christophe Cerisier

The region is considered one of the best locations in the world to establish a wind farm, as it is considered to be a unique geographical phenomenon with strong, predictable wind streams between the country’s desert hinterland and Lake Turkana.

The continent is proving to be one of the leaders of renewable energy optimisation in the world with companies including Irish-based Mainstream Renewable Power who last September signed a deal with the Ghanaian government to construct its own 225MW wind farm.

Speaking of the Lake Turkana project, its chairman, Mugo Kibati, said, “We are very pleased to continue this great journey with Vestas as we progress toward our aim of reducing Kenya’s need for hydro and expensive fossil fuel-based power generation. We want to ensure that Kenya has access to low and consistent power prices, and with the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, we can do that.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic