The Lake Turkana Wind power (LTWP) project will soon be connected to the national grid now that the government of Kenya has contracted a consortium of Chinese companies to complete the construction of a major transmission line that will evacuate electricity, a project that stalled in 2016, when the previous contractor, Italian company Isolux Ingeneria, went bankrupt.
The consortium which comprises of the NARI Group Corporation and Power China Guizhou Engineering Company will be responsible for completing the $150 million Loiyangalani-suswa power line. The contract was signed by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company ( Ketraco), that is owned by the state.
The Chinese Companies are required to complete the 428 Km 400kV line which is about 70% complete by August.
“We expect the line to be ready by August so that the LTWP project can be connected to the national grid,” says Fernandes Barasa, Ketraco Managing Director.
According to the power purchase agreement signed with electricity utility Kenya power, the the Lake Turkana Wind power project is expected to provide reliable, low-cost energy for Kenyans over a 20 year period.
Having been awarded the contract in 2011, Isolux was supposed to complete the project in 23 months.
Kenya, which is highly dependent on hydroelectricity, is desperate to tap electricity from Africa’s largest wind farm and this will soon be possible when the Lake Turkana Wind power project comes online and helps to arrest rising electricity costs caused by a severe drought that has led to drastic decline in water levels at hydropower schemes, forcing the country to resort to expensive thermal generation.
The cost of electricity could increase further this year even after increasing by 22% over the past 12 months.