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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

Kenyans planning to develop biggest wind power farm project

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s electricity producer has said it will develop a 400 megawatts (MW) wind power farm in Meru County, in eastern Kenya in a phased project to be financed by a consortium of development financiers.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) said the Meru Wind Farm Project initial phase has a completion date of December 2017 and is expected to be among the largest wind farms in the country.

"We have developed internal capacity to implement the wind project.

"We see a lot of potential in wind power," Mugo said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

"It is likely to become a big thing in Kenya, and we are part of a group of businesses taking leadership in wind power development in the country," Mugo added.

He said the two financiers - France’s Development Agency (AfD) and Germany’s Development Bank (KfW) are in the country this week conducting a due diligence on the project.

The site of the project is near the Meru-Isiolo border.

"The lenders are on site this week to conduct a due diligence on the project.

"The first phase of the project for a 50MW-100MW project will be financed by concessional funding which is low cost, " Mugo said.

KenGen has a wind farm generating 25.5MW in Ngong’ in the outskirts of Nairobi, making it the only producer of wind energy in the country.

Mugo said KenGen is diversifying to cheaper sources of energy, starting with its key geothermal projects in an effort to reduce the more expensive diesel generated energy from the national power grid.

KenGen said it has already put up wind masts which have been collecting data for about three years now.

A Feasibility Study Report developed two years ago indicated that there is enough wind resources to develop up to 400MW in phases from the area.

The additional data will confirm the scale up to 400MW as the company seeks to increase the production renewable energy.

KenGen in October 2014 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the County Government of Meru for the acquisition of land to develop 400MW of wind power.

Meru County is said to have a geographical advantage of being between the flatter, drier and hotter Isiolo area and the hilly, wetter and cooler Mount Kenya region, causing a natural flow of wind that can be tapped to produce high capacity of wind power.

The project’s site therefore sits in a wind corridor.

Investment in wind generation is driven by the need to mitigate impact of climate change for a greener future and the government’s commitment to lowering of electricity prices in Kenya through renewable energy sources.

Wind generation currently constitutes one per cent of total generation which is expected to increase to 11 per cent in line with the government’s strategy of 5000 MW by the year 2018.

KenGen intends to use up to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in mainly concessional funding in the next 2-4 years in capital expenditure on sustainable energy projects as it pushes to increase power supply in the country.



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