Fred Aminga @faminga
Emerging market investor Actis has acquired 88 per cent stake in Kipeto Energy, making it the largest shareholder of the 100MW wind power project located in Kajiado county.
The UK-headquartered private equity fund acquired equity interest of International Finance Corporation (IFC) and African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).
Once in operation, Kipeto Energy will be the country’s second largest wind farm supplying 100MW of clean energy to the national grid. The Kipeto project was originally conceived by Craftskills Wind Energy International, with support from General Electric (“GE”).
AIIM and IFC InfraVentures co-developed the project with Craftskills from 2014 until early this year, executing a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Kenya Power in 2016.
Kipeto Energy Plc has leased 70 square km of land in the Esilanke area of Kajiado county including reaching agreement for the relocation and re-housing of local families. The local Maasai community will also receive five per cent of annual dividends once the plant opens in 2020.
It is GE Renewable Energy and GE Energy Financial Services (“GE EFS”) partnership on technology and debt financing which conceptualised this flagship onshore wind project Kipeto Energy Plc (“Kipeto”) expected to reach commercial operations in 2020.
GE Renewable Energy provided 60 of its GE 1.7-103 turbines and a 17km (220KV) transmission line to carry the power to Isinya substation in the county, providing power to the equivalent of about 40,000 homes in the region.
It is anticipated that more than 400 job opportunities will be created during the construction phase of the project and an additional 70 permanent jobs during the operational phase.
The Kipeto wind power project, which reached financial close Monday, will now be funded by equity from Actis, Craftskills Wind Energy International, alongside senior debt from Overseas Private Investment Corporation, US government’s development finance institution.
Peter Wells, GE’s Onshore Wind Regional Director for Europe and sub-Saharan Africa said the company is proud to be a part of the exciting endeavour.
““The Kipeto project is an important step forward in providing affordable, reliable clean energy to the region, and meeting Kenya’s renewable energy goals. We look forward to working with our partners on the journey for years to come,” he said.
Wind energy is becoming one of the most popular sources of renewable electricity production globally. It is a low-carbon source of energy and is better for the environment as there is little or no emissions directly related to the electricity generated using wind technology.
In addition, wind-generated electricity does not require large volumes of water, mining, drilling or transportation of fuel.
Kipeto Energy Plc aims to provide tangible benefits to the local economy and improve the general welfare of residents.
These include: Availability of jobs for people in the project area and opportunities for local suppliers and artisans to provide goods and services to the project and also land leases as a source of revenue and long-term income for local landowners.