- Move to replace firm that went bankrupt to speed up link for additional 310MW electricity.
- The main contractor, Spain’s Grupo Isolux Corsan, went bankrupt over Sh153.6 billion debt, slowing down monitoring of the local subcontractors and supply of materials.
Kenya has opened talks with Spain for a new contractor to build the delayed power line linking a 310-megawatt wind power plant in Marsabit to the national grid after initial Madrid-based builder went bankrupt.
The delay in completing the 428-kilometre high-voltage power line is costing electricity consumers Sh700 million monthly on a lack of connection of the 300-megawatt Lake Turkana wind power farm to the grid.
The main contractor, Spain’s Grupo Isolux Corsan, went bankrupt over Sh153.6 billion debt, slowing down monitoring of the local subcontractors and supply of materials.
The contractor hitch and delayed landowners’ compensation has hindered completion of the line, which started in November 2015 and had been due to be completed by last December.
“We are in discussion with the Spanish government and we expect to have a solution in a very short while. Maybe in two weeks’ time, we will have a solution,” Energy PS Joseph Njoroge has said last week without giving details of the talk.
“However, the works (by subcontractors) are still going on at the site and we expect between June and September, we should be able to complete the line and start evacuating the wind energy.”
The wind plant has since early this year been ready to inject power into the grid but will be idle until 2018 due to the transmission line delay.
But the owners of the plant continue to bill Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC Sh700 million a month, leading the Treasury to pay the investors Sh5.7 billion fine that will be recovered from electricity consumers from May 2018.
The bankruptcy of the Spanish firm forced the government to pay the subcontractors to avoid delaying the line further and reduce the mounting fines.
“The sub-contractors who were on the ground have continued to do that work. We are trying to make sure it (project) does not bring in any additional costs. That’s what we are working on (with the government of Spain),” Mr Njoroge said.
The Lake Turkana consortium consists of KP&P Africa, Aldwych International, Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Sandpiper and Vestas.