, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – The 60.8MW Kinangop Wind Park (KWP) project has been stopped due to ongoing protest by area residents.
Kinangop Wind Park CEO James Wakaba says construction of the Sh15billion project was halted as the never-ending protests have created an unsafe environment for the team to implement the project.
“Kinangop Wind Park (KWP) regretfully announces that it is no longer in a position to construct and operate the 60.8MW Kinangop Wind Park project due to the ongoing impact of civil commotion. Subsequent to the protests, there have been a number of further serious security events in the area with the most recent occurring in February 2016,” Wakaba said.
The wind farm was supposed to be located on the Kinangop plateau but the residents, many who have refused to let go of their land, argue that the project is on private property and they are being coerced to hand over.
The residents have also been complaining about the future environmental impact from the plant.
But the company has blamed politics, with Wakaba adding that politicians have stood in between and at some point denying the company access to meet with the actual land owners.
He says for now, KWP cannot assure any hope of further constructions as a lot of funds have been used due to the delay of the project which was supposed to be completed in mid 2015.
“The impact of the initial civil commotion has not been resolved while further incidents of civil commotion have occurred, creating an unsafe environment. Furthermore, due to the consequent material delay, project funds have been depleted and the project can no longer be completed by the shareholders,” the CEO said.
The Kinangop project was the first fully licensed, independent large-scale wind farm to reach financial close in Kenya and on completion was due to deliver electricity derived from renewable energy to circa 150,000 Kenyan households.
The wind plant involved the installation and operation of 38 wind turbines, each of which has a rated output of 1.6MW.
General Electric had already delivered the 38 turbines and had already signed a deal to provide maintenance for the Kinangop wind farm for 10 years worth Sh5.8 billion ($58 million).
“While KWP and its partners remain committed to the provision of wind-generated power in Kenya, the decision has been made to cease implementation of the Kinangop Wind Park project given the circumstances,” Wakaba emphasised.