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View of the proposed site for the wind farm on the shore of Lake Turkana showing mountains in background Wind turbines at Lake Turkana, Kenya

Kenya’s largest private investment project

As lenders’ technical advisor, we provided technical advice to a pool of lenders and are now monitoring construction of the £454m Lake Turkana wind farm. The project is Kenya’s largest private investment to date and will provide as much as 17% of Kenya’s annual energy needs.

We are also providing environmental and social monitoring on the associated transmission line.

ClientAfrican Development Bank /
Standard Bank of South Africa /
Nedbank /
European Investment Bank /
EKF and other lenders
ExpertiseLender's technical advisor (LTA)
...I can say with full confidence that Mott MacDonald has saved this deal from failure...has worked tirelessly to defend the project and answer endless queries from cynical and, at times, hostile audiences.Michael Gabish

Principal Financial Officer, African Development Bank

The 310MW project comprises 365 850kW Vestas wind turbine generators. The wind farm is being built under a multi EPC contract approach, with five main contractors involved in the construction.

Opportunity

The key challenge on the project was location. A transmission line, around 400km, needed to be built from Loiyangalani to the outskirts of Nairobi to export the wind farm’s energy. Due to the length of the transmission line, the project required the commissioning of a dynamic reactive power compensation system at the Loiyangalani substation. The project also required the upgrade of 200km of public roads to carry the turbines from Mombasa harbour to the site. Specific system integration tools are required to dispatch its generation.

Solution

We carried out due diligence which assessed various parts of participants and contracts. We provided a ‘value for money’ analysis on the key construction contracts to benchmark prices proposed against similar contracts worldwide. To support our work, we inspected Vestas and RXPE facilities in China, visited the site in Kenya and met with local contractors. We actively participated in contract negotiations on key construction and operations and maintenance contracts and on the power purchase agreement (PPA). We also maintained dialogue with the sponsors. We helped the lenders understand the technical parts of the project and therefore structure the project to minimise risks.

Outcome

We carried out a power system analysis to clearly understand the demand and generation constraints in Kenya and to understand how this project could fit in. We raised a number of technical issues in the various contracts and participated in rendering the contractual structure less risky for the lenders. Our pro-activity in the discussions and our responsiveness to urgent meeting requests from all parties has strengthened the parties’ confidence in our services and commitment and has saved on time. Furthermore, the project has enabled power for a region with high poverty, providing the local community with some hope for the future.

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