Lake Turkana Wind Power is Africa’s largest wind farm to date, and it is also the largest private investment ever in Kenya. The wind farm was, among other things, created to produce renewable energy for Kenya’s national grid, to reduce power cuts and to save the country millions of euros in fuel imports.
The 310 MW Lake Turkana wind park, the largest in Vestas’ history by the number of turbines, is a true testament to Vestas’ strong capabilities in emerging markets. The Lake Turkana area has strong and stable winds of 11 s/m on average. Translated this means that the wind turbines produce electricity 70 per cent of the time, which is almost twice as much as what they produce in European onshore wind parks.
It took more than eight years to finalise the project and it required a financial package of approximately 600 million euros. Nordic Development Financing Institutions have provided a substantial part of the equity and Denmark’s Export Credit Agency, EKF, also supported the project by providing a project-financing guarantee of 120 million euros. This relieved the funding providers of risk.
Based on current figures, Lake Turkana supplies approximately 15-20 per cent of Kenya’s electricity consumption. The project has improved access to the Lake Turkana area by establishing more than 200 km of roads which has a significant offset on the area’s infrastructure. The number of power cuts in Kenya has been reduced considerably since the turbines started to run at full speed, and the production of fossil-based energy is more than halved in a year. Consequently, the CO2 emissions have been considerably reduced. It has also been an excellent project for the local labour market; the wind park created approximately 1,800 jobs in connection with the construction of the wind park.