Lake Turkana Wind Power consortium (LTWP) has announced plans to supply 300 megawatts of green power to Kenya’s mains electricity grid.
The wind farm will be located in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana in the Turkana channel, a valley between the Kenya highlands and the Ethiopian highlands. This channel helps form the “Turkana low level jet.”
The German Wind Energy Institute has conducted on-site wind measurement at the location since the 1st of December-2006, and has measured an average monthly wind speed of 11 meters per second. These results are among the best the Institute has ever come across, worthy of being compared to “proven reserves” in the fossil fuel industry.
LTWP states it can provide reliable wind power to meet up to 30% of Kenya’s current electricity needs; a staggering figure and one that will put the country in the forefront of renewables sourced electricity.
The wind farm will consist of of 353 Vestas V52 wind turbines, each with a generation capacity of 850 kilowatts. The Vestas 52 weighs over 62 tonnes and has a blade length in excess of 50 metres and includes OptiSpeed, a technology that allows the rotor speed to vary within a range of approximately 60 per cent in relation to nominal rpm. This maximises the aerodynamic efficiency of the rotor in response to changing wind conditions and minimises both unwanted fluctuations in the output to the grid supply and loads on the vital parts of the construction.
The initial stage of the project will begin generating electricity in July 2010 and reach the 300 megawatt mark by June 2011, adding over 30% or more to the total existing installed wind power capacity available in Kenya.