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Ngong Hills wind power site the perfect place to unwind, enjoy cool breeze

NATIONAL
By Chebet Birir | June 5th 2021
Ngong Hills Wind Power Station, KenGen's wind farm in Ngong Hills. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard}

For many years, Ngong Hills in Kajiado County has been a tourist attraction site, thanks to the scenic beauty of the hills, the trees, and a wind farm located within the area and operated by KenGen.

Ngong Hills is located in the northern tip of Kajiado County, about 25 kilometres from Nairobi city. The forest covers an area of just over 3,000 hectares and is managed by Kenya Forest Service.

People from all walks of life come here every morning from as early as 6am, for hiking, picnics or even prayers.

For hiking enthusiasts, there are seven hills around there and it will take you about three to four hours before you get to the last hill.

“The ambience is good, we enjoyed the morning trek and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a good time”, says Abdul-Fatah Mohammed, a resident of Nairobi County.

For others, it is the perfect destination to unwind while taking a walk in the forest.

“It is a peaceful place, like if you are facing difficulties in life you can come have walks and you will feel better,” says Hillary Ominde, a teenager visiting the site.

Ngong Hills is also the centres of worship for many people, who seek to connect to their God at a more spiritual level.

Mickson Mhando visited the site and was accompanied by three other members of his worship team. Mhando says church time is not enough for him to connect with his maker.

“This place is isolated so we get to have more intimate moments with God. We came here at 7am and we are planning to leave at 6pm. I believe by the time I leave, I will be spiritually filled”, he says.

Ngong Hills Wind Power station was initially commissioned in 1993 with two wind turbines donated by the government of Belgium.

The two turbines were later retired in 2008 to pave way for the installation of new turbines. In 2013, Kenya Electricity Generating Company, (KenGen) which owns and operates the wind farm and power station began adding new turbines, which have since generated more electricity for the country and beyond.

“After success of the initial six plants, we expanded and now have a total of 30 plants," says Lawrence Mwagodi, the operations manager at the Ngong power plant.

"Each plant is rated at 850 kilowatts,” adds Mwagodi.

The location of the turbines was selected by KenGen due to the high wind speed in the area. The turbines trap the wind and convert it into electricity.

"Once the turbine rotates, the wind energy goes to a generator and the power is taken into the cables then to the transformer, after which it goes to the grid,” explains Eng. Mwagodi.

Aesthetic value

The cabling was also done underground in consideration to preserve the aesthetic value of the environment for people to enjoy the scenic beauty.

“What you will see is only the wind turbines but not the cabling. You will only see it as it goes into the grid system. We propagated the grass there because we had interfered with the area so we planted grass to ensure erosion control as well,” he adds.

KenGen has not restricted the wind farm from public viewing, allowing them to enjoy every bit of the site at affordable rates.

“Our wind turbines are quite photogenic and beautiful to look at. Kenya Forest Service provides security and all we do is use the plant to harness electricity, but we have an agreement with them to allow people to enjoy the vicinity,” Mwagodi adds.

“We are enjoying this place so much especially the wind mills…the fresh air. You do not get so much heat as you walk, it is a lot of fun,” says Maureen Ogola.

 

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