President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday commissioned the Lake Turkana Wind Power Farm, Africa’s largest wind power project, which has an installed capacity of 310 megawatts of clean, reliable and low cost electricity.
Uhuru also commissioned the 428km high voltage power transmission line and the upgrading of Loyangalani to South Horr road.
The double circuit 1,200 megawatts capacity line constructed by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) evacuates the electricity generated at the plant to Suswa, where it is injected into the national grid.
In the last eight months, the wind power project has saved Kenyans more than Sh8 billion owing to reduced usage of diesel-generated thermal power. Over the same period, the plant injected more than 1.2 billion KWh of electricity into the national grid.
Speaking at the event also attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Uhuru said the commissioning of the project was a proud moment for Kenya.
“With this monumental feat, as Kenya scores another first in Africa, I urge all Kenyans to remain resilient builders,” said the President.
Kenya is one of the countries leading globally in the development of renewable energy, especially in the geothermal sector.
Uhuru, who made an extensive tour of the plant, said the government has stepped up efforts to encourage development of wind farms and other renewable green sources of electricity, by KenGen and the private sector.
Kenya’s installed power capacity has increased from 1,768 MW in March 2013 to the current 2,712 MW, with the Lake Turkana Wind, Garissa Solar Power (54 MW) and Ngong Wind Plants (26 MW) joining the grid within the last year.
Uhuru said the commissioning of the project is a testament of Kenya’s commitment to pursue clean sources of energy. It is also a major boost to the country’s international commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
He said globally, Kenya is celebrated as one of the leading countries in the world with an energy mix of over 85 per cent from renewable sources, especially from geothermal sources, a technology in which the country has become a continental centre of excellence.
“The successful implementation of Lake Turkana Wind Power demonstrates Kenya’s outstanding credentials as an investment destination in Africa and is a perfect example of the immense potential of the public-private partnership model of implementing development projects,” said the President.
The Head of State said Kenya’s progress in renewable energy will ensure the country’s scenic beauty and unique ecosystems are preserved and protected for present and future generations.
“I invite other investors, not only within the energy sector but across the economy, to join hands with government in conceptualising and delivering transformative projects that secure measurable returns for our people as well as the investors,” he said.
Ruto said success of the project was a result of unity and commitment of all stakeholders, including host communities, various development partners and the private sector.
He thanked the President for taking charge to ensure the project, which consists 365 turbines each with a capacity to generate 850 kilowatts of power, was successfully executed.
Energy CS Charles Keter said the ministry is working to ensure that locals are connected to the national grid as soon as possible while Lake Turkana Wind Power project chair Mugo Kibati said the Vision 2030 flagship project is a showcase of Kenya’s maturing profile as an investment destination of choice in Africa.