Kenya has officially given the go-ahead for the largest wind farm to be built in the country’s Lake Turkana region in the Rift Valley. The wind turbines will be supplied by Vestas Wind Systems, who confirmed that it has received an order for 365 V52-850 kW turbines.
Once complete, the almost-400 turbines is expected to produce around 310 MW of electricity, and according to a media statement will save Kenya approximately $178 million in fuel imports every year. With a project of this size, it is also expected to only be completed in 2017.
“We are very pleased to continue this great journey with Vestas as we progress toward our aim of reducing Kenya’s need for hydro and expensive fossil fuel-based power generation. We want to ensure that Kenya has access to low and consistent power prices, and with the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, we can do that,” said Mugo Kibati, Chairman of Lake Turkana Wind Power, in a media statement.
The region is the ideal location for such a project, as winds often exceed 11 m/s – the higher the wind speed, the more electricity will be generated. With those odds, it will generate more than 1,400 GWh of power per year, which is about 15% of the country’s current electricity usage.
The largest wind farm in South Africa is currently at Jeffrey’s Bay, and has a peak capacity of 138MW. The amount of electricity that the new Rift Valley farm will be capable of generating is more than three times that of Africa’s largest solar panel farm, the Jasper solar power project situated just outside of Kimberley, and produces 96 megawatts of power to the grid as part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP).[Source – Vestas, image – CC by 2.0/warrenski]