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Largest African Wind Farm Completes Grid Connection

published: 2019-07-31 9:30

A 310 MW wind farm, dubbed "Lake Turkana Wind Power," in Kenya has recently completed grid connection. It will be capable of meeting 17% of the nation's power needs.

The wind farm, which is the largest onshore one in Africa, is equipped with 365 850 KW wind turbines, occupying 160 square kilometers in space. With a total construction cost of US$680 million, it will increase the share of wind power in the nation's power supply by six percentage points, up from 2018's 11%. This is a far cry from the mere 1% from 2016.

Thanks to its topographic features and climatic diversity, Kenya has emerged as a leading nation in the development of renewable energy in Africa, with its geothermal power accounting for 47% of its power supply in 2018, followed by hydraulic power with 30%, fossil fuel with 13%, and wind power with 11%.

The grid connection of the facility has been postponed from the original schedule of 2014, due to a number of setbacks, including the withdrawal of the project’s financial support by the World Bank in 2012. The problem has been compounded by the remote site of the wind farm, which entails the need for the construction of a long-distance highway for the transport of materials and equipment. An electric cable extending 428 kilometers also needed to be constructed for the connection to the central grid.

The project will go a long way in solving the current power shortage problems of Kenya, where one fourth of the population is still denied access to power supplies. In recent years, the nation has been determined to push the development of its green energy further, aiming to attain the goal of having green power accounting for 100% of its power supply by 2020.

(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Lake Turkana Wind Power)

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