Final turbine installed at Kenya’s second-biggest wind farm

Kipeto Wind Farm is set to generate 100MW of clean energy.

US multinational General Electric (GE) has completed the installation of 60 wind power turbines at the Kipeto Wind Farm in Kajiado, marking the end of major construction activities for the energy project.

Located at Esilanke area in the foothills of Ngong Hills, about 30km southwest of Nairobi, the Kipeto wind power project is set to inject 100MW of energy into the grid – making it Kenya’s second largest wind farm after the Turkana Wind Power project.

“Kipeto Energy on May 31, 2020 successfully installed the last of 60 wind turbine generators… we are very proud of the (team) who have worked tirelessly towards the achievement of this great milestone despite the current Covid-19 pandemic,” the firm said.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March disrupted many construction projects but GE continued, without any delays, with its back-office creating a safe working environment for technicians in the field.

With all 60 turbines in place, the wind farm is on track to be fully operational by end of the year – supplying Kenya Power with less expensive, renewable energy enough to power at least 40,000 homes. The two companies signed a power purchasing deal in July 2015.

The Kipeto Wind Farm emerged as part of the US President Barack Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative, which sought to add 30,000 megawatts of clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The wind farm is funded by equity from growth markets investor Actis LLP, which holds an 88% stake, and Craftskills Wind Energy International – which holds a 12% stake, alongside Sh24 billion loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance body.

The African Trade Insurance Agency has been contracted to provide a 10-year standby on-demand insurance cover to protect the wind farm against the risk of payment delays by Kenya Power.

The Kipeto Wind Farm is the brainchild of Craftskills Wind Energy, a company owned by Kenneth Namunje, Simon Guyo and Charles Munywoki, which – together with the African Infrastructure Investment Managers (55%), International Finance Corporation (20%), and Kipeto Local Community Trust (5%) – founded Kipeto Energy Plc as a special purpose vehicle for the development of the project.

In 2018, Actis acquired the equity interests of both the IFC and the African Infrastructure Investment Managers to become the largest shareholder of the Kipeto wind power project.

Two years earlier, Kipeto Energy Plc had contracted China Machinery Engineering Corporation to perform engineering design, procurement and construction of the wind farm at a contract price of Sh22.6 billion.

In December 2018, the company contracted GE to supply 60 GE 1.7-103 wind turbines for the farm, barely four months after signing the OPIC loan deal in Washington DC in a ceremony witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Wilbur Ross, the US secretary of commerce.

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