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Economy

Homes saved Sh1bn fine as wind power linked to grid

Charles Keter
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s single largest power plant, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, will in the next five days inject 310 megawatts into the national grid saving electricity consumers a monthly fine of Sh1 billion.

The plant had faced a series of setbacks, including securing financing, which delayed construction and the government’s role of building transmission lines linking the wind farm to the nation grid.

Kenya had committed to pay a monthly fine of Sh1 billion through consumer bills should it fail to link the plant to the national grid by this month. The injection of the cheaper power looks set to ease pressure on homes and businesses after electricity prices were increased by up to 52 per cent on August 1.

“Consumers will have better quality power due to an additional 310mw to the grid. It is also part of our larger plan to gradually reduce reliance on expensive thermal power,” said Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.

Electricity from the wind park will cost Sh8.7 per unit (8.5 US cents), which is in a similar price range as geothermal power, or three times cheaper than diesel-generated electricity.

Mr Keter spoke during final tests on the 428-kilometre power line that will evacuate electricity to the grid.

Delays in building the power line hampered electricity evacuation from the northern town of Marsabit to Suswa substation in Narok, the country’s main interchange for power coming from different sources.

This left wind farm developers with unused power amid pressing cash needs.

Homes and businesses will pay an equivalent to Sh0.1 per kilowatt hour (kWh) spread over a period of six years.

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