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Turkana power project not gone with the wind – AfDB

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has assured that it is still committed to funding the close to Sh68 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) despite lack of a guarantor.

AfDB Regional Director Gabriel Negatu said the bank is currently looking at ways of getting other guarantors for the project after the World Bank became reluctant on the matter delaying the process.

Earlier, the government had turned to the World Bank to request for the support after the financiers said that one of the conditions to funding the project was getting partial risk guarantee.

“There have been some issues with the partial risk guarantees that we were trying to organise with one of the partners but that notwithstanding we are moving ahead. The government of Kenya is fully committed to this, together with the African Development Bank, and this is a project that will fully be financed. There is no doubt about that,” Negatu told Capital Business.

The World Bank became reluctant with fears that the 300MW plant is too big for Kenya’s power grid and may produce huge amounts of electricity that may go to waste, hence deny LTWP revenues, and hurt its position to pay creditors.

“We would not want this matter to delay this important project. It doesn’t matter if it is going to be Chinese or whoever. When one door closes we cannot give up, no! We are working hard to finalise this,” he said.

The project was supposed to start in July this year but has since been delayed after AFDB and other financiers gave the conditions before they commit their funds.

Negatu however insisted that AFDB has faith in the project and that it is not ready to quit as has been feared.

“We seem to have a different view on energy utilisation risk in Kenya with our other partners. But again, that notwithstanding we will proceed and very soon we will bring this to closure and finance one of the biggest wind power projects in the continent,” Negatu added.

The chairman of LTWP Carlo Van Wageningen earlier this week also expressed confidence in the commencement of the project adding that the negotiations on financing were in final stages.

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Once complete, the project is expected to provide 300MW low cost wind power to the Kenya national grid, equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the current installed electricity generating capacity.

The plant will be located in Loyangalani in Marsabit County on a 40,000 acres piece of land.

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