By Etaarifa Contributor
Google has today announced its commitment to invest up to $40 Million in Lake Turkana Wind Power Project.
Once operational, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project will bring 310 megawatts of clean energy onto Kenya’s grid—enough to power more than two million households across the country. Lake Turkana will help bring much needed capacity and stability to Kenya’s energy supply, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and emergency diesel generation while providing some of the most cost effective power in the country.
Google will join a diverse group of international investors in the project, including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. government’s development finance institution, and Vestas, which is also supplying the turbines for the wind farm. Google will purchase Vestas’ 12.5% stake in the Lake Turkana project once it comes online, becoming the first U.S. private investor to support the project.
“We are making a commitment to invest in Lake Turkana Wind Power Project because it makes financial sense and has the potential to have a massive impact on Kenya’s energy grid, helping to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in one of the world’s fastest-growing countries. We look forward to joining Vestas and others to help make the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project a reality and accelerate progress toward a future of clean energy,” said Joseph Mucheru, Google Energy Lead for Africa.
Kenya currently ranks among the continent’s fastest-growing economies and has goals of universal energy access. The construction of the Lake Turkana Wind Project at Loiyangalani in Marsabit County is expected to spur additional energy development in the region, and will be supported by construction of a 266-mile transmission line.
“The Lake Turkana Wind Project is an absolute landmark achievement that will improve the lives of Kenyan people with reliable clean power delivery and also underscores Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC’s) contribution to the progress of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. OPIC applauds Google’s forward thinking and dedication to developing market clean energy through their equity investment in the Lake Turkana project,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO.
“OPIC is proud to bring a foundation of large-scale debt financing as well as four decades of emerging market power experience to the Lake Turkana project. The leadership of visionary private sector investors like Google bolstered by catalytic OPIC support is at the heart of both Power Africa and lasting, impactful global development.”
Globally, Google has committed more than $2 Billion to advance 22 clean energy projects. Last year, Google reiterated its commitment by closing its first renewable energy investment in Africa: a $12 million investment in the 96-MegaWatt solar photovoltaic plant; dubbed: The Jasper Power Project.
“Since investing in the continent’s largest solar project, we’ve continued to see a big opportunity in fast-growing markets with rich renewable energy resources, where both the need and the potential are tremendous,” said Mucheru.
By investing in South Africa’s Jasper Power Project and the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, Google now supports both the largest solar and wind farm projects in Africa whilst accelerating the deployment of renewable energy in emerging markets.
The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project will be the largest wind farm in Africa once complete, and will generate an equivalent of 15% of Kenya’s current grid capacity.