Located on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya, the Turkana is the largest alkaline lake on the world. This remote and inaccessible area is, paradoxically, one of the best enclaves on the planet to build a wind farm. The fact that it remains windy throughout the year allows a much higher capacity than others. It was here that the Kenyan government built the largest wind farm on the African continent.
The impressive Lake Turkana Wind Power Park (LTWP) covers an area of 40,000 hectares and has a maximum capacity to generate 310 megawatts of electricity. The cost has reached 680 million euros, shared between the public and private sectors, giving rise to the largest private investment in the history of Kenya. Inaugurated last week, the new power plant will provide around 15 percent of the country’s energy.
“This special occasion demonstrates our continued commitment to honor our promises to the people of Kenya, what we do ensuring the necessary energy to feed our common aspirations,” said the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. “The social and economic transformation of our land and nation is generated through forms of clean, renewable and green energy,” added.
The LTWP consists of 365 Vestas wind turbines – with three poles of 25 meters each – that are distributed along a semi-arid landscape on which rests. This wind farm is also surrounded by the Kulal and Njiru mountains, which create a “tunnel effect” that makes the wind received by the mills never be too strong, which in turn would stop the wind turbines.“The wind is accelerating as it approaches the lake, where it is too strong to use it,” said LTWP executive director Rizwan Fazal.
The project needed more than ten years to finish. “We started in 2008 and which has been operational since September 25, 2018”, reveals Fazal. The difficult access to the almost desertic region and the absence of infrastructures are between the causes. A road of 200 kilometers, for example, had to be built.
+ The European Investment Bank (EIB), a financial institution of the European Union (EU), contributed 200 million euros, while the EU itself disbursed 25 million euros.