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EU happy with progress of Turkana wind power project

By Protus Onyango | Updated Mon, November 14th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3

The European Union has pledged more money for Lake Turkana wind power project.

EU has cited the project as global example of a good investment in sustainable energy.

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice President responsible for climate action, singled out the wind energy project as one of the most successful for the financing institution.

"Transformational projects such as the Noor solar power plant at Ouarzazate and Lake Turkana wind farm in northern Kenya demonstrate how private investment across Africa can be unlocked to strengthen sustainable energy generation," he said.

Taylor told delegates at the UN world climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco, that the bank has already given Sh23 billion to support the project, and pledged additional financial support from the European Union, through the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund and a broad range of international investors.

Taylor noted that as the largest single wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, the project is expected to generate around 20 per cent of Kenya's power and provide 300MW of reliable, low cost wind power to the country's national grid.

The project located in remote northern Kenya is the largest ever private investment in Kenya and includes 365 wind turbines, each capable of generating 850 kW, as well as associated power and road connections.

"Availability of affordable energy is essential for Africa and electricity from the Lake Turkana Wind Power project will support economic growth across Kenya by helping to ensure power supply during periods of peak demand," he said.

Once complete, the project is expected to reduce power outages in Kenya by supplying electricity 60 per cent cheaper than thermal power plants.

The project will reduce reliance on hydro-electricity that often becomes unreliable during the dry season and reduce the need to import unpredictably priced petroleum.

Taylor said the 162-square-kilometre wind farm in Marsabit County has some of the most consistent winds in Africa.

The site was selected following an extensive survey focusing on environmental, sustainability, technology and commercial considerations.

The site is at least nine kilometres from the shores of Lake Turkana.

The EU has, over the years, supported projects in energy, transport and water sectors.