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Wind turbines in Ngong hills | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Wind turbines are seen at the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) station in Ngong hills, about 22 km southwest of Kenya's capital Nairobi. Kenyan government is boosting efforts to tap wind energy, reducing over-reliance on hydro-power and costly diesel-powered generators. XINHUA PHOTO - ZHAO YINGQUAN

Electricity Generating Company adds 20MW to Ngong wind farm

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has said it will increase power output at its Ngong wind power farm by 20.4MW, following the construction of 24 new turbines to be commissioned in October.

KenKen CEO Albert Mugo told journalists during an inspection tour of the firm, located near the capital city, that the addition will bring the power unit’s total capacity to 25.5MW.

"The company is fast-tracking its renewable energy projects, comprising wind and geothermal as part of government’s target of adding 5,000MW to the national grid by September 2016," Mugo said.

KenGen is also actively involved in the exploration and tapping of the geothermal steam, supplying the bulk of the 130 megawatts of geothermal generated electricity to the national grind.

KenGen’s shift to renewable energy is based on the government’s strategic plans to invest in cheaper and greener renewable energy resources to make electricity cheaper, and act as a catalyst for the industrialization and improvement of living standards as the country races to achieve middle income status by 2030.

Kenya currently depends heavily on the hydrogenated electricity that supplies an estimated 67 percent of the national electricity needs, yet this supply is affected dramatically in case of rainfall failure, plunging the country into expensive power rationing.

KenGen commenced the expansion of the Ngong Wind plant in March 2013 under two separate contracts for the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of wind turbines, each producing 850KW.

The first contract financed by Spain involves the installation of 16 Spanish-made Gamesa turbines.


Kenya to add 140 MW of power in August

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will connect an additional 140 Megawatts of power into the electricity grid in August, a senior government official said on Sunday.

Energy Cabinet secretary Davis Chirchir told a news conference in Nairobi that the electricity will be generated from geothermal power.

"This is part of the programme to add 5,000 MW to the national grid in the next 36 months," Chirchir said at a launch of a project to boost Kenya’s electricity transmission lines.

Kenya has an installed capacity of about 1600 MW. Geothermal is one of the cheapest sources of power.

"Kenya will be able to deliver power at seven cent per kilowatt hour compared to the current average of 19 cents per kWh. which will help reduce the cost of power," he noted.

The east African nation had requested 800 million U.S.dollars loan facility from the African Development Bank to expand its electricity transmission network.

"The bank’s board is expected to approve the first tranche of 160 million dollars in September," he said.

The cabinet secretary added that Kenya plans to connect at least 3,000 primary schools to the national grid in the current financial year. An additional 3,000 schools will source electricity from solar sources.

"This will ensure the success of the planned school laptop project," Chirchir said. Kenya Power Managing Director Ben Chumo said his organization has set aside 11 million dollars to upgrade its electricity network.

Kenya has set aside 24 million dollars in the current financial year to subsidize connections to the national electricity grid.


Construction of new 300 MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Project

by Chrispinus Omar and Ronald Njoroge NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The construction of Kenya’s 300 MW wind power project will begin in Ju8ne 2014, the chairman has said.

Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) on Monday secured 623 million euro loan, making it the largest private investment in Kenya’s history.

Lake Turkana Wind Power Chairman Carlo Van Wageningen told journalists in Nairobi that the entire project will take 32 months to complete.

"However, the first 100 MW will be connected to the national grid in 27 months after construction begins," Wageningen said during the ceremony of signing financing agreements in Nairobi.

As the largest single wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa the Lake Turkana scheme is expected to generate around 20 percent of Kenya’s power and provide 300 MW of reliable, low cost wind power to the Kenya national grid.

The project located in remote northern Kenya will be the largest ever private investment in Kenya and include 365 wind turbines, each capable of generating 850 KW, as well as associated power and road connections.

The project has attracted financial support from European Investment Bank (EIB), the Standard Bank of South Africa, Nedbank, FMO, Proparco, East African Development Bank (EADB), PTA Bank, EKF, Triodos and DEG; all who were led by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

"A consortium of banks has agreed to extend loans amounting to 498 million Euros towards the project," Wageningen said.

"The debt has a ten year repayment period with a two year grace period.

The chairman said that the wind farm will cover 40,000 acres in north eastern Kenya.

"The project will comprise of 365 wind turbines each with a capacity of 850 KW," he said.

The LTWP project has been under private development since 2005 and that is in itself a remarkable testimony to the stability and soundness of the Kenyan electricity sector as well as the environment for Independent Power Producers.

"We are delighted that this project will move forward with the continued support of Kenyan government, Kenya Power, KETRACO the African Development Bank, and all the other partners who have since come on board," Wageningen said.

The signing of the financing agreements signifies the completion of the project’s financing subject to completing the remaining conditions precedent after which construction will commence this year and begin producing power in early 2016, adding 300MW to the national power grid.

Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said that the Lake Turkana Wind Power project is the single largest wind power project to be constructed in Africa.

"It also represents the largest private investment in Kenya’s history," he said.

Njoroge said that Kenya aims to reduce the cost of power from an average of 0.20 U.S. dollars to 10 cents in the next five years.

The PS added that the wind farm will provide approximately 20 percent of Kenya’s current installed capacity electricity at the rate of 0.752 euros per Kwh.

"It will also save the country at least 150 million U.S. dollars annually on fuel imports used to generate electricity," he said.

LTWP is a key deliverable under the government’s commitment to scaling up electricity generation to 5,000 MW and to provide cost effective renewable power to the Kenyan consumer.

It is also a Vision 2030 flagship project and will be a transformative project in terms for the development impact to the Northern arid areas of Kenya, the electricity sector, and to Kenya as a whole.

It is also expect to generate up to 150 million dollars/ year in foreign currency savings to Kenya through fuel displacement costs.

The project’s debt raising is led by the AfDB, as mandated lead arranger, the Standard Bank of South Africa and Nedbank Limited as co-arrangers, EIB, FMO, Proparco, East African Development Bank, PTA Bank, EKF, Triodos and DEG.

The government of the Netherlands has also provided a grant of 10 million euros and the European Union, a subsidized facility through the EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund a further 25 million euros.

Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat Acting Director General Gituro Wainaina said that the wind farm is a key deliverable under Kenya’s commitment to scaling up electricity generation to 5,000 Mw in the next 40 months.

He said that the demand for electricity in Kenya is very high.

"We have in the pipeline a number of flagship projects that require cheap and reliable sources of energy," Wainaina said.

European Investment Bank Head of project Finance in Africa Monique Koning said her bank will provide 200 million euros of debt towards the project.

"We will also take an additional 25 million euros of preferred equity share in the project to close a financing gap not covered by current or new investors," Koning said.

Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya Joost Reintnjes said that his government has provided a grant of ten million Euros towards the project.

African Development Bank Regional Director Gabriel Negatu said that the project is an example of how developmental financial institutions can work together with commercial banks to bridge Africa’s energy gap.

Negatu said that his firm has also provided a 20 million Euros partial risk guarantee for the construction of a transmission line that will evacuate power from the wind farm.

"As the lead arrangers, we are proud to have played the key role of convening all the partners together to reach this historic financial close," Negatu said.

"Africa Development Bank has further provided a Partial Risk Guarantee to GoK to protect the project against the risk of delays in the construction of the transmission line, thereby providing additional comfort to prospective lenders."

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Managing Director Joel Kiilu said that they have received a 110 million Euro loan from the Spanish government to construct a 428 km transmission line that will distribute the power generated by the wind power plant.

"Construction will begin in April and will complete in two years," he said.


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