Africa’s biggest wind power scheme, the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Kenya, should be fully connected to the national electricity grid and producing power by the end of June, a director at the consortium building the project said yesterday.

The scheme had faced a series of setbacks, mostly due to problems securing financing which delayed construction.

Carlo Van Wageningen, founder of the project, said most of its 365 wind turbines had been erected and the last batch of 30 was due to arrive in Mombasa early next month.

Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, is supplying the turbines for the Sh70 billion ($674 million) project.

“As of last Friday, we had 299 turbines standing and ready. Of those, we have by tomorrow (today), 120 turbines fully connected to the substation and therefore ready to deliver 110MW of power,” Van Wageningen told Reuters in a phone interview. “We expect all the turbines to be erected, 365 (of them) by mid-March, and by mid-May latest, all of them will be fully connected to the substation, in readiness for power delivery.”

Kenya is increasing electricity generation and investing in expanding and reinforcing its grid to keep up with growing demand for power and to reduce frequent blackouts. The country relies heavily on renewable such as geothermal and hydro power for its electricity supply.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company produces the country’s only wind power, but its capacity is just 25.5MW, whereas the Lake Turkana project will provide 310MW in total, adding to Kenya’s total current power generation capacity of about 2,341MW.

A 428km, 400-kilovolt power line running from Loiyangalani in northern Kenya to Suswa in the centre of the country, which will link Lake Turkana Power to the national grid should finally be ready by the end of June, Van Wageningen said.

“So hopefully in the middle of this year we should start delivering the cheap power, 310MW,” he said.

The power line, being built by state-run Kenya Transmission Company, had been due to be completed by October last year, but was delayed by demands for compensation from landowners along the route and other issues.

The Lake Turkana Wind Power consortium comprises KP&P Africa BV and Aldwych International as co-developers among others.