Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Renewable Energy: Kenya shows the way for Africa!

Renewable Energy: Kenya shows the way for Africa!
By Nana Wireko

Feature Article | 6 hours ago

There are some 700 million people in Africa without access to
electricity. As the continent modernizes, those people will need
power. But could African power be a perfect place for leapfrog
technology�when a developing society goes straight to the most modern
technology without going through the iterations seen in the developed
world? A new windfarm in Kenya might indicate yes.

The $870 million Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project, set to begin
construction in December, will be the largest wind farm in Africa when
it is completed. The project, which will be built in a remote area
near the Lake Turkana basin, will use 360 wind turbines to pump out
300 megawatts of power�enough to power tens of thousands of homes and
add 30% more energy capacity to Kenya's grid. LWTP, a consortium of
Kenyan and Dutch organizations including Anset Africa and KP&P, also
plans to install a 266-mile-long transmission line to bring energy
from the turbine project to the main grid.

This is a big step for Africa's renewable energy capacity, but there
is still a long way to go. There is only one grid-linked solar power
project currently operating on the continent (in Rwanda), though there
are several under construction. And at least one country in the region�
South Africa�relies almost entirely on coal for energy.

But if LTWP is completed on schedule (by 2014) and without any future
financing issues, investors may soon come around to the idea that
large-scale renewable projects in Africa make sense.

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