Wind power saves consumers Sh8b

The Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) plant may have enabled consumers to save more than Sh8 billion over the first half of this year, which would have been billed as fuel costs paid to thermal power generators.

This is according to the owners of the wind farm, who noted that over the first six months of the year when the country experienced a prolonged dry spell, power from the plant helped keep the thermal plants at bay.

Hydropower plants experienced a major reduction in production during this period and the tradition has been to switch on thermal plants, which was kept at a minimum.

“Over the last six months, the wind farm has been able to produce 1.2 billion kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricity. If we did not have this power and considering that there has been a dry spell, there would have been an intense use of thermal power producers,” said Rizwan Fazal, a director at LTWP.

SEE ALSO :Power bills hit 5-year high amid investments in cheaper sources

The cost of fuel burned to produce electricity by thermal plants is passed to consumers and reflects as fuel cost charge (FCC) in the power bill.

FCC reached a peak of Sh3.75 per unit of power in May this year, relatively low compared to a high of Sh4.60 in July last year and an all-time high of Sh7 per unit in August 2014.

“In the absence of electricity from the wind plant, power users would have spent an additional Sh8.5 billion in fuel cost charge. The trickledown effect is not just the cost of power but in other areas such as the current account and foreign exchange rate.”

Mr Fazal spoke ahead of today’s inauguration by President Uhuru Kenyatta of the power plant and the 428-kilometre high-voltage line that transmits power from the plant to Suswa for distribution.

The power line was completed in September last year following long delays that have been costly for Kenya including the procurement of another contractor after the initial one collapsed, as well as penalties paid to LTWP for late delivery of the power line.

SEE ALSO :Uhuru to commission Africa’s largest wind farm in Marsabit

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Chief Executive Fernandes Baraza said the line had offered vital lessons for the state-owned firm that is putting up several other high-voltage lines across the country.

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