By John Njiraini

Revenues from wind energy investment in Africa are projected to hit Sh32 billion by 2015, a new study has shown.

The study, conducted by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan titled African Large-Scale Wind Turbine Market, said companies manufacturing wind turbines raked in Sh12 billion in revenues.

And with increased investments in renewable energies, particularly wind, the revenues are estimated to reach Sh32 billion by 2015.

"Over the past five years, higher-than-anticipated economic growth in African nations has led to a rapid increase in electricity demand and renewed interest in alternative forms of power generation," said Frost & Sullivan Energy Research Analyst Sipha Ndawonde in a statement.

In effect, this has pushed governments in the continent to invest more resources into exploring renewable energy after successes in Europe and the United States convinced them that wind power can alleviate some power shortages.

The study comes only days after Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) floated tenders for the design, manufacture, supply, deliver, erect, test and commission a 10 MW wind project.

The Ngong II wind power project, which will cost Sh2 billion, follows the completion of another 5.1 MW Ngong I plant in September last year. The two wind plants are part of an ambitious plan by the Government to invest in wind energy as a way of tackling the recurring energy crisis.

Already, plans are underway to install 365 wind turbines around Lake Turkana, a move that will create the biggest windfarm on the continent.

Highest proportion

When complete in 2012, the Sh67 billion project is expected to produce 300 MW, one of the highest proportions of wind energy to be fed to the national grid. According to the Frost & Sullivan study that focused on large wind turbines of 600 Kv and more, numerous African countries have announced plans to erect wind power projects of between 120MW and 300MW.

Besides Kenya, other countries include Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt, Algerian, Tunisian and Morocca. Ndawonde said the major challenge facing the continent is the fact that the power sector is still regulated by monopoly control.

Other constraints like aging infrastructure, over-reliance on single sources for generation has pulled countries behind.