Steel and cement firm Devki Group is set to diversify to power production with a planned wind farm in Kwale County.
The move will see wind as a source of power generation gain a deeper hold of the Kenya electricity sector, which has risen from a negligible amount in 2018 to account for 16 per cent of the power that Kenyans consumed last year.
Devki Steel Mills said in a disclosure to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) that it is planning to construct a 60-megawatt wind power plant at Kinango, Kwale County.
This will enable the firm to further diversify its revenue streams. In addition to steel and cement, the company owned by Narendra Raval also produces fertiliser and roofing sheets.
Devki said it plans to construct and operate a 60 megawatts wind farm to generate electricity to be sold to the national grid “as per the Feed-in-Tariff Policy for wind”.
“The proposed project which is to be located at Samburu off Mombasa-Nairobi Road within Kinango sub-county, Kwale County,” it said.
The firm added that the characteristics of the wind in the area are ideal for power generation.
“These site wind conditions favour the site for the production of electricity from wind using a low-wind turbine, that is a turbine which reaches rated capacity at a low wind speed rather than one with higher,” said Devki in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (Esia) report it has lodged with Nema as it seeks approvals to build the plant.
“The proposed wind farm will be built by installing thirty-eight wind turbines to generate electricity to the national grid.”
The design components of the wind farm will include wind turbines complete with all necessary auxiliary facilities, overhead power lines and access road
Electricity generated will be fed to an existing nearby sub-station and power transmission grid within the premises of Devki Steel Mills Ltd Samburu Plant, the report said.
The farm would be the fourth major wind power plant in Kenya after KenGen’s Ngong wind plant (26.1MW) in Kajiado County, Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) plant (310MW) in Marsabit County and Kipeto Wind (100MW), also in Kajiado.
The installed capacity for wind rose from 26.1MW in 2017 to 436.1MW in 2021.
The renewable energy source last year accounted for 16 per cent of the power consumed in Kenya, after geothermal and hydro.
It is now ahead of thermal power plants, which have a higher installed capacity of 677.8MW but preference is given to wind because of lower costs as well as its environmentally friendly nature.
Other than the wind, there has also been an increase in the amount of solar power being fed to the grid. Installed capacity has increased from a negligible amount in 2017 to 172.5MW as of December last year.
This follows the commissioning of three new plants - Selenkei, Cedate Eldosol and Malindi – last year, each with a capacity of 40MW.
They add to the government-owned Garissa Solar Power plant that was commissioned in 2018.
While environmentally friendly, both solar and wind power plants present unique challenges to the stability of power supply owing to their intermittent nature, where they only produce power at certain times and not necessarily when there is demand.