Wind wire: Biggest wind plant

Africa's biggest wind power plant is moving closer to fruition. The Nairobi-based consortium behind the 300 MW Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project, in north-east Kenya, has signed an exclusivity deal with Vestas to supply 363 of its 850 kW turbines for EUR370-380 million.

Just "a few formalities" remain before final signature of the engineer, procure and construct (EPC) contract, says LTWP's Chris Staubo. The African Development Bank (ADB) will provide a direct loan of EUR100 million to help finance the project and syndicate another EUR200 million of debt among various other development banks, such as Germany's KfW and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO). In addition, around EUR140 million will come from equity, of which Britain's Globeleq is expected to stump up 70%. Dutch developer-operator KP&P, a member of the LTWP consortium, is providing the rest. Meanwhile, this month LWTP expects to announce the winner of a request for proposals to build the 400-kilometre transmission line needed to feed the power to the national grid at Suswa, 70 kilometres north-west of Nairobi. The line will be constructed on a build, own, operate and transfer basis on behalf of state utility Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). LWTP is arranging financing for the line, estimated at EUR180 million, but will be reimbursed over the term of the contract, which could be up to 30 years. With its environmental impact study now approved and a power purchase agreement (PPA) in place, LWTP is just waiting for an independent power producer licence. LWTP expects the first turbines to start turning mid-2011, with full project commissioning scheduled for mid-2012.


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