By GLADYS JOHNSON
GE Renewable Energy and GE Energy Financial Services (“GE EFS”) have partnered to provide technology and facilitate debt financing for its flagship onshore wind project in Sub-Sahara Africa. Kipeto Energy Plc (“Kipeto”) 100-megawatt (MW) wind power project is located south of Nairobi, in Kajiado, Kenya.
GE Renewable Energy will provide 60 of its highly efficient GE 1.7-103 turbines and a 17km (220KV) transmission line to carry the power to Isinya substation in Kajiado County, providing power to the equivalent of approximately 40,000 homes in the region. The 100MW Kipeto wind power project will provide clean energy to the national grid as a significant contribution to Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Big Four Agenda. The project is expected to reach commercial operation in 2020.
Peter Wells, GE’s Onshore Wind Regional Director for Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “GE is incredibly proud to be a part of this exciting endeavor. The Kipeto project is an important step forward in providing affordable, reliable clean energy to the region, and meeting Kenya’s renewable energy goals. We look forward to working with our partners on the journey for years to come.”
The Kipeto wind power project, which reached financial close yesterday, is funded by equity from Actis and a Kenyan company, Craftskills Wind Energy International, alongside senior debt from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States government’s development finance institution (DFI). GE EFS provided advisory support which facilitated OPIC’s financing and will help to enable Kipeto to begin construction of the second largest wind farm in Kenya with GE wind turbines.
Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director, GE EFS’ Global Capital Advisory, said: “Kipeto represents our ability to identify and connect capital from leading government agencies to emerging markets, and enable construction of GE’s wind projects in new markets. The project lays foundation for cleaner and more reliable energy for the local communities in the future.”
GE Renewable Energy will also provide operations and maintenance services for the project. It is anticipated that more than 400 job opportunities will be created during the construction phase of the project and an additional 70 permanent jobs during the operational phase.
The Kipeto project was originally conceived by Craftskills Wind Energy International, with support from GE. AIIM and IFC InfraVentures co-developed the project with Craftskills from 2014 until early 2018, executing a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power and Lighting in 2016.
Kipeto Energy Plc has leased 70 square km of land in the Esilanke area of Kajiado county including reaching agreement for the relocation and rehousing of local families. The local Maasai community will also receive 5% of annual dividends once the plant opens in 2020.