Solar power seems to be the most logical renewable choice in Africa, but that hasn’t stopped the African Development Bank from initiating the Lake Turkana Wind Power project (LTWP)–a $755 million, 66,000 hectare project on the edge of the world’s biggest permanent desert lake. The site is ideal for wind power, as volcanic soil is swept up into the air year round through the channel.
When finished in 2012, LTWP’s 365 turbines will produce 300MW, or a quarter of Kenya’s installed electrical capacity. But it’s far from the only wind project in the works–KenGen, a Kenya state power company, runs a 5.1MW site full of Vestas wind turbines near Nairobi, and the company is scouring 14 other sites across the country for wind power potential.
Increased renewable energy production is a smart move for Kenya, since destruction of water catchment areas and unpredictable rainfall have disrupted the country’s massive hydroelectricity output. Add that to the fact that demand is rapidly rising, and a wind power buffer seems essential. Rest assured that the government knows it: in the next five years, Kenya plans on installing 800MW of wind power and 500MW of geothermal power.
Author: A. Schwartz