Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The first brick to Africa's largest Wind power Plant layed

THE LAKE TURKANA  wind power project has awarded the first 31million (ksh3.2 billion) contract for the construction and upgrading of more than 300KM of roads. The contract was awarded to Mombasa based engineering and construction firm, Civicon Kenya.

The civil works contract forms 5.3 per cent of the entire project cost of €582 million. The road construction project will involve upgrading of the 204km road from Laisamis to the wind farm site. It will include upgrading of another 109 KM within the162Km2 site for construction, operations and maintenance. 

The award of the contract is a signal that the World Bank divisions-IDA and MIGAS-may have guaranteed the €582 million debt or are very close to doing so.

The LWTP story is a story of dogged determination on the part of its promoters. It has been in the works for the last Nine years- a time long enough for the weak at heart to give up. It all started way back in 2006 when Willem Dollerman, who knew the site saw an opportunity for wind power generation as the cost of crude oil shot past US$50 per barrel.

There followed a string of activities including registration of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) in Europe and Kenya to promote the project.  There followed a creative way of fundraising by way of selling shares in the Europe registered SPVs –KTF-Energy and KP&P Africa,  by private placement to finance initial stages.
 A feasibility study established the reliability of the wind flow at 11metres per second. Then a 20-year PPA signed with KPLC. This paved the way for institutional financiers to have serious look at the project.

The awarding of civil works contract lays the first brick close to the production of the 300MW wind electricity. The construction of the roads will last 15 months paving the way for the transportation of the wind turbines and transformers to the site. The first 90 MW of power is expected on stream early 2014.

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