Kenya: Transmission Lines to delay Electricity supply from Lake Turkana Wind-farm

Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd. of Kenya will face delays in supplying electricity to the grid when Africa’s largest wind-farm goes live in October because transmission lines may not be in place, the company said.

The developers of the 40,000-acre site in Marsabit county, northern Kenya, plan to have the first 90 turbines installed by September and begin generating power the following month, General Manager Phylip Leferink said in a March 17 interview.

“We expect to go live in October this year, generating 50 to 70 megawatts to the grid,” he said at the site of the facility, about 423 kilometers (263 miles) north of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

State-owned Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. has begun construction of the 428 kilometers of power lines, however “wayleave challenges in Nyahururu and upper Naivasha and security issues in Samburu” are delaying completion, acting Managing Director John Mativo said Monday in an e-mailed response to questions.

Work began on the 70-billion shilling ($689.7 million) wind farm in 2014 after almost a decade of delays. Kenya’s largest single private-sector investment, it’s set to add 310 megawatts to the national grid on completion by July 2017, raising the country’s installed capacity to 6,700 megawatts. It’s located in arid northern Kenya, an area that sees sporadic intercommunal violence.

“We have to be alert, inter-tribal conflict can create security situations,” Leferink said. “There is cattle-rustling in the area that can also create security concerns, but we are vigilant on security.”