19 October, 2016

Lake Turkana Wind Turbine Farm-Loiyangalani

Green Energy, Clean energy is no longer an alternative but a choice. I was pleased to recently visit Loiyangilani District in South Hor ,Turkana /Marsabit County and witness the  single largest private investment in Kenya’s history, The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project( LTWP)  a wind power harnessing project using large turbines  in  a stretch estimated to cover 162 square kilometers.

The wind farm is expected to  provide 310MW  low cost wind power to Kenya’s national grid, equivalent to approximately 18 per cent of the country’s current installed electricity generating capacity. The project will comprise 365 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW .

Most important though is the socioeconomic and environmental impact to the communities living along this arid/semi-arid region.for one, due to the project previously impassable ,rough terrain dirt roads have now been leveled and  murram added making the almost 200 km drive from Laisamis to the interior somewhat tolerable.

Communication infrastructure is slowly improving due to the contractors on site necessitating the installment of cell phone masts.It is obvious that this is changing the fortunes of the communities that were previously neglected.

What was perhaps disconcerting is that cattle rustling is still carried out between the Samburu and Turkana communities. But with this infrastructure projects coming up,economic growth and the exposure that results it is hoped that  such things will soon be history as community efforts are directed to other activities.It is also important to note, that cattle rustling or insecurity is not the main story of this region.The communities have existed and flourished in peace for many decades, unfortunately its selective media that only highlights the troubles of the region and forgets the good. Indeed if it bleeds it leads mantra has created a negative connotation for many regions and as Africans we know how unjust that can be.

With roads, infrastructure, electricity and supporting businesses  , this is the area to watch. Much of its potential is still untapped. Just driving up the road we were able to see a lot of wildlife for free...Ostriches,Giraffes,Gazelles,Antelopes, Oryx, Hyena's...etc.As the photos show Turkana is a beautiful place with beautiful people and it is projects such as the above that will expose this beauty to the outside world.

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