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Economy

KenGen in 400MW wind power farm plan for Meru

A herdsman looks after his cattle near the power-generating wind turbines at the KenGen station in Ngong  hills. PHOTO | FILE
A herdsman looks after his cattle near the power-generating wind turbines at the KenGen station in Ngong hills. PHOTO | FILE 

KenGen is set to develop a 400 megawatt (MW) multibillion-shilling wind power farm in Meru, adding to its growing portfolio of renewable energy sources.

The first phase of the wind power project, which is expected to complete by December 2017, will generate 100MW at a cost of Sh26.4 billion ($270 million).

France’s Development Agency (AfD) and Germany’s Development Bank (KfW), the financiers of the project, are in the country to conduct a due diligence on the project before releasing funds.

“The first phase of the project for a 50MW-100MW project will be financed by concessional funding which is low cost,” said KenGen’s managing director Albert Mugo on Thursday in a statement.

The share of hydro-power injected to the national grid stood at 41 per cent in January, down from 63 per cent in the same period last year, due to increased share of geothermal energy and dry weather that reduced water levels in KenGen’s dams.

Electricity generated from geothermal sources in October for the first time surpassed that of hydro power.

Wind-generated power currently constitutes just one per cent of total generation being fed into the national grid, a share which is set to increase given the several projects coming up across the country.

A group of private investors, with the support of a consortium of lenders, including the African Development Bank and Standard Bank, is developing the 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in northern Kenya—also billed as the biggest in Africa.

A 100MW wind farm by General Electric in Kajiado, a 60MW one by Aeolus Kenya and a 90MW project by Electrawinds in Lamu are some of the projects currently in the pipeline.

KenGen also operates a 25MW wind farm in Ngong’.

“The company 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,” the power producer said in a statement.

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