June 29, 2017 / 3:41 PM / 22 days ago

Kenya says major wind power line to be ready in three months

2 Min Read

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A power line linking a 310 megawatt (MW) wind power plant to Kenya's national grid, delayed by landowners' compensation demands among other issues, is expected to be ready in the next three months, the energy minister said on Thursday.

Kenya relies heavily on geothermal and hydro power for its electricity, providing the bulk of the country's total 2,341 MW output. Wind power provides about 25 MW.

The construction of the 266-mile (428-km), 400-kilovolt power line from the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, running from Loiyangalani in the north to Suswa in the center, started in November 2015 and had been due to be completed by December.

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems, supplier of the wind farm's 365 turbines, said this month the wind farm was ready for launch but would be idle until next year as the government had not yet installed the transmission line.

Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said on Thursday work was under way to get all required material for local subcontractors as Spain's Grupo Isolux Corsan [GCFB.UL], the main contractor, was having financial difficulties.

"We saw the need that instead of us terminating the contract, we'd rather manage by getting the materials because the subcontractors who are working on the line are Kenyans," Keter told a news conference.

"If we get the materials within the next three months, we should complete the line from Lake Turkana all the way to Suswa," he said.

The Lake Turkana consortium consists of KP&P Africa, Aldwych International, Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Sandpiper and Vestas.

Once completed, Google will acquire Vestas' 12.5 percent-stake in the project.

Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Louise Ireland

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