Tomi Abe Tomi is the Co-Publisher and Editor at Susinsight, observing and reporting on trends across Africa's economy, society, and environment. He holds a PgD in Creative Technology and a BSc in Computer Science. Tomi works as a Product and Brand Experience Consultant in Nigeria.

How Lake Turkana Powers Kenya’s Green Revolution

7 min read

Amidst the expansive and arid landscapes of Marsabit County, Kenya, where the winds sweep across vast plains, Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited (LTWP) stands tall as a monumental testament to sustainable energy innovation. Recognized as Africa’s largest wind farm, it paints an impressive silhouette across the horizon with its array of wind turbines. Beyond being a mere symphony of audible presence, the turbines’ hum resonates as the harmonious cadence of progress, orchestrating a ballet of sustainability that channels pristine energy into Kenya’s national grid.

Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited (LTWP) isn’t merely an electricity provider; it stands as a catalyst for transformative change in Kenya’s dynamic energy sector. Tucked away in the strategic landscapes of Marsabit County, LTWP commands an impressive fleet of 365 turbines, each boasting a capacity of 850 kW and collectively delivering a formidable 310 MW to the national grid. This robust contribution represents a substantial 17% of Kenya’s total installed capacity, underscoring the profound impact of the LTWP project on the nation’s energy landscape. Beyond being a power supplier, LTWP symbolizes a pivotal player in Kenya’s ongoing commitment to sustainable energy solutions. In an era where the global focus shifts towards reducing carbon footprints and embracing renewable sources, LTWP emerges as a trailblazer, spearheading Kenya’s charge towards a more environmentally conscious and sustainable future.

Lake Turkana Wind Power

Company Overview

Steering Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) is Phylip Leferink, a seasoned professional with over two decades of international experience. Leferink excels in the development and execution of large-scale infrastructure projects spanning multiple continents. His leadership has been instrumental in steering LTWP to ongoing success, offering strategic direction and operational oversight. With profound knowledge and a hands-on approach, Leferink has guided the organization through challenges, as exemplified by the wind farm’s uninterrupted operations for three consecutive years under his stewardship. This accomplishment not only attests to the team’s technical prowess but also underscores the operational stability of LTWP.

With profound knowledge and a hands-on approach, Leferink has guided the organization through challenges, as exemplified by the wind farm’s uninterrupted operations for three consecutive years under his stewardship.

Phylip Leferink

LTWP isn’t merely a point of pride for Kenya; it stands as a jewel for the entire African continent. As the largest wind farm in Africa, LTWP serves as a flagship project, setting the standard for renewable energy development across the continent. It highlights Africa’s immense potential for adopting environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable energy sources. The success of LTWP sends a resounding message to the world about Africa’s dedication to renewable energy and the fight against climate change. Guided by Phylip Leferink’s leadership, LTWP positions Africa at the forefront of global endeavors to transition towards greener energy, solidifying the continent’s pivotal role in the international battle against climate change.

Sustainable Solutions

Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) places an unwavering emphasis on tapping into the extraordinary potential of wind energy for electricity generation. This marks a departure from traditional power generation methods, notorious for their heavy reliance on coal or fossil fuels, which contribute significantly to environmental pollution. In stark contrast, wind power emerges as an eco-friendly alternative, completely devoid of carbon emissions, establishing itself as a cleaner and more sustainable energy source.

The installation of 365 turbines at LTWP goes beyond mere electricity generators; they stand as emblematic of a future grounded in environmental responsibility, playing a pivotal role in combating the adverse impacts of climate change. These turbines underscore the critical role of renewable energy in addressing contemporary environmental challenges.

Furthermore, beyond their numerical prowess, the 365 wind turbines employed by LTWP represent a technological marvel in the realm of renewable energy. Each turbine, boasting an 850 KW capacity, incorporates advanced features meticulously designed to optimize the conversion of wind energy into electricity, thereby enhancing overall output and efficiency.

Lake Turkana Wind Farm

These turbines harness cutting-edge aerodynamic technology to capture the maximum possible amount of wind energy. Equipped with sophisticated control systems, they continually adjust the position of their blades to the optimal angle, adapting to changes in wind direction. This dual functionality not only amplifies electricity generation but also minimizes wear and tear on the turbines, extending their lifespan and concurrently reducing maintenance costs.

Moreover, the design of these wind turbines prioritizes efficiency across a broad spectrum of wind speeds, guaranteeing a consistent supply of electricity even in less-than-ideal wind conditions. The incorporation of noise reduction features further demonstrates LTWP’s commitment to minimizing the turbines’ impact on the local environment.

The integration of such advanced technology into LTWP’s wind turbines allows for the efficient and sustainable generation of a substantial amount of renewable energy. This underscores the company’s dedication to innovation, positioning it as a trailblazer in leading the transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

Electrical Substation at LTWP

Impact and Contribution

In addition to the remarkable statistics, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) exerts a palpable and far-reaching influence across various dimensions—environmental, communal, and societal. Achieving a 100% capacity factor and generating 310 MW not only highlights the wind farm’s immense scale but also underscores its operational efficiency.

LTWP’s unwavering commitment to sustainable development is vividly demonstrated through its active contributions to the seven United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These encompass the promotion of clean and affordable energy, stimulation of economic growth, and advocacy for urgent measures to combat climate change.

The reverberations of LTWP’s impact extend deeply into the social fabric of Marsabit County, Kenya. The wind farm plays a pivotal role in nurturing peaceful coexistence among diverse communities within the county, leading to a notable reduction in the frequency and intensity of inter-ethnic conflicts. LTWP has emerged as a catalyst for positive change, fostering harmony in the region.

Kenya’s Green Energy Gem

Furthermore, the presence of additional police officers stationed at the wind farm site has bolstered security measures, resulting in a significant decrease in incidents such as cattle rustling and community conflicts. This enhancement contributes not only to a more secure environment but also to the overall betterment of the community.

In terms of environmental impact, LTWP has made a considerable contribution to climate action, a key United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. The wind farm, boasting 365 turbines, generates renewable energy that substantially reduces Kenya’s reliance on fossil fuels, thereby mitigating carbon emissions. Since its inception, LTWP has annually offset approximately one million tons of carbon emissions that would have emanated from non-renewable sources.

Socially, LTWP has played a pivotal role in fostering peaceful coexistence among diverse ethnic communities in Marsabit County. A notable example is the transformation of the once-conflict-ridden community of Laisamis. Before LTWP’s establishment, inter-ethnic conflicts fueled by cattle rustling and competition for water resources plagued Laisamis. However, LTWP’s presence has resulted in increased security and job opportunities, effectively mitigating these conflicts.

At the communal level, LTWP’s Winds of Change initiative has significantly enhanced local livelihoods. The establishment of the Kargi Solar Project in Marsabit County, supported by LTWP, stands as a success story providing affordable, clean energy to the local community—a tangible step towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal of accessible and clean energy.

Moreover, LTWP has actively contributed to quality education, another UN SDG, through support for local schools. In January 2022, LTWP initiated a two-month food relief program that ensured meals for 13,000 primary school children in Marsabit County, enabling students to focus on their education without concern for their next meal.

These instances underscore the multifaceted positive impacts of LTWP, illustrating its ongoing role in propelling socio-economic development and sustainability in Kenya.

Communal and Societal Impact

Local Engagement and Sustainability

Lake Turkana Wind Power’s (LTWP) commitment to community engagement goes beyond the conventional scope of electricity generation, reflecting a profound dedication to holistic infrastructure development. This commitment is exemplified by the wind farm’s significant role in fostering local employment and contributing to the livelihood of Marsabit County.

One notable aspect of LTWP’s infrastructure development is the construction of both on-site and off-site roads, a crucial enhancement that has substantially improved connectivity within the region. The wind farm’s status as the largest private employer in Marsabit County underscores LTWP’s commitment to bolstering the local economy through job creation.

LTWP further extends its influence through the Winds of Change (WoC) initiative, a testament to its dedication to sustainable community development in the Laisamis Constituency, where the wind farm is situated. WoC strategically targets key sectors such as education, healthcare, water, and road safety, aiming to leave a positive and lasting impact on local communities. Emphasizing collaboration with the community in decision-making processes ensures that the projects align with the community’s needs and aspirations.

Local Community Engagement

A notable accomplishment highlighting LTWP’s commitment to the local community is the completion of the transmission interconnector. This critical piece of infrastructure facilitates the efficient delivery of clean energy generated by the wind farm to the national grid, directly benefiting a broader population beyond the immediate vicinity.

The impact of LTWP transcends mere electricity generation; it catalyzes economic growth in the region. The upgraded road infrastructure, for instance, has drastically reduced travel times, transforming the journey from Nairobi to the wind farm from three days to a mere 12 hours. Similarly, the trip between Sarima and Laisamis has been shortened from seven hours to just three. This accessibility transformation not only opens up new economic opportunities but also decisively contributes to the overall development of the region. LTWP’s influence, therefore, reaches deep into the fabric of the local community, far beyond the boundaries of the wind farm.

In the realm of community initiatives, Lake Turkana Wind Power’s Winds of Change (WoC) program underscores a profound commitment to enhancing healthcare, education, and water access, alongside various community projects.

Solar Pump Borehole at Moite Village

In the healthcare sector, WoC has established dispensaries and upgraded existing healthcare facilities with solar systems, ensuring consistent power supply and water access. Collaborating with Mission to Heal, WoC extends its impact through health outreach programs across Laisamis Constituency, addressing critical healthcare needs.

Education, another pivotal focus area for WoC, sees the construction of school facilities, including classrooms, dormitories, ablution blocks, teachers’ accommodations, and laboratories. WoC’s investments in solar and water systems in schools like Luai and Arge demonstrate a commitment to sustainable and reliable resources for educational institutions. Essential items such as desks, chairs, books, and pens are also donated to fulfill the basic needs of schools across Laisamis Constituency.

Recognizing water scarcity in Marsabit County, WoC has completed numerous water projects, including borehole drilling and equipping with solar systems. Installing a solar-powered reverse osmosis system in Sarima ensures access to clean drinking water, while the construction and rehabilitation of water pipelines and storage tanks contribute to long-term water sustainability.

Solar Pump Borehole at Manyatta Ntiliya

WoC’s community projects extend beyond the realms of healthcare and education. Initiatives range from providing food during droughts to constructing community storage facilities and housing for the local police force. Sports and peace initiatives are also actively supported, showcasing WoC’s holistic approach to community development and sustainability. These endeavors exemplify the depth of LTWP’s commitment to fostering positive and lasting change in the communities it serves.

Testimonials and Future Prospects

As we peer into the future, LTWP isn’t merely conceptualizing change; it’s actively sculpting a path where its initiatives continually mold and positively influence Kenya’s energy landscape. The reduction in the nation’s hefty dependence on fuel imports, resulting in noteworthy economic savings exceeding €281 million from 2018 to 2021, marks just the inception of LTWP’s profound contribution to Kenya’s sustainable journey. The reverberations of this project’s expansive influence will persist, contributing to the formation of a more sustainable and economically resilient future for Kenya and its populace.

Local testimonials provide a profoundly human insight into the concrete effects of the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP). The voices of the community echo with stories of heightened security, a palpable decrease in conflicts, and a substantial upswing in local economic opportunities. These firsthand narratives not only underscore the tangible, positive transformations catalyzed by LTWP but also offer a glimpse into the lives of those directly touched by its impact.

A Day in the Life of a Lake Turkana Wind Power Engineer

Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited transcends its role as a mere wind farm; it emerges as a symbol of sustainability, casting a brilliant light on Kenya’s ongoing transition toward cleaner, more eco-friendly energy sources. Since its inception, this visionary project has not merely harnessed wind power for electricity generation; it has been a catalyst for positive transformation within local communities, markedly improving the quality of life for countless residents.

Amidst the intricacies of climate change and the complexities of ensuring energy security, the endeavors of Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited stand as an inspiring paradigm. It paves the way for other initiatives, showcasing the possibility of harmonizing energy needs with an unwavering commitment to sustainability and the welfare of local communities. In an era fraught with uncertainties, Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited stands resolute, a testament to the profound capacity of renewable energy to bring about meaningful change in both lives and landscapes.

Edited by Adetoro Adetayo — Co-Publisher, Susinsight.

Avatar photo
Tomi Abe Tomi is the Co-Publisher and Editor at Susinsight, observing and reporting on trends across Africa's economy, society, and environment. He holds a PgD in Creative Technology and a BSc in Computer Science. Tomi works as a Product and Brand Experience Consultant in Nigeria.