Kenya has secured Sh6.9 billion from France for the construction of an 80-megawatt wind farm in Meru in a move expected to boost the country’s renewable energy drive.
The funding was signed during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to France this week and will finance the first phase of the energy project expected to have a total installed capacity of 400MW.
The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) will build the plant.
“The project will contribute to a sustainable national energy matrix by producing environmentally sound electrical energy and avoid the generation of carbon emissions at reasonable economic costs,” KenGen managing director Albert Mugo said in a statement.
Wind-generated power currently constitutes one per cent of total generation fed into the national grid, a share which is set to increase given several projects coming up across the country.
This includes the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Marsabit whose first 50MW is expected to be fed into the national grid in September and full capacity switched on by July next year.
Electricity from the Lake Turkana wind farm will cost Sh8.5 per unit (8.42 US cents), which is half that from diesel generators.
The rates for the Meru plant is not yet known.
The construction of 100MW Kipeto Wind Project in Kajiado is set to start following the award of the Sh22.6 billion contract to a Chinese firm in January.
Consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) early this year ranked Kenya as one of the fastest-growing markets for renewable energy.
EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) placed Kenya in the ‘Rising Star’ category.
Kenya is going heavy on renewable energy like geothermal, wind and solar to grow its installed power capacity from current 2,294MW.
The government in 2013 set an ambitious target to generate additional 5,000MW by the end of next year from the renewable sources.
Kenya stands to reap Sh481 million annually from trading in carbon credits from the Lake Turkana plant that will lower carbon emissions in the race to tackle global warming.
At Sh8.5 per unit, the cost of Lake Turkana wind project, set to be the largest in Africa, is the third cheapest power source in Kenya after geothermal energy at Sh7 and hydropower at Sh3.
Thermal generators are the most expensive at Sh18.