In November 2006 collection of wind data for the Lake Turkana Wind Power project began, while discussions with the Kenya Government in 2009 culminated in signing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power in January 2010. This was re-affirmed and signed in September 2011.
An ESIA for the project was done in 2009, to which Nature Kenya objected due to lack of provision of detailed information about the project in the report which resulted in a broad nature of assessment of potential impacts on biodiversity and the environment in general. In spite of this, the ESIA was approved and a license issued in 2009.
The Government of Kenya signed the Letter of Support, which allows for the Lenders to complete their financial due diligence and documentation. In April 2013 The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved USD 149.5 million in financing of the project. In August 2013, the European Investment Bank board also approved 200M euros to help finance the project. AfDB approved an additional Euros 20M funding in October 2013. Implementation is set to begin in early 2014 although the road and transmission line construction will begin soon.
In May 2013 Nature Kenya wrote a letter to the EU investment bank stating its position on wind farms including the Lake Turkana Wind Farm project. The letter stated that Nature Kenya is not against wind development and recognizes that climate change poses a serious threat to people and biodiversity and that renewable energy can be part of the solution. However, renewable energy projects can themselves have environmental impacts.
Particularly, the Lake Turkana Wind Power is located along a birds’ migratory corridor and there are imminent dangers on migrating birds. Some of the major concerns were substantial modification of the project (from 100 to 365 turbines) since the original license was issued by NEMA in 2009. Lack of detailed information in the ESIA which results to unclear guidance on avian safe wind turbine placement and design.
Nature Kenya recommends among others development of the outline Environmental and Social Management Plans provided in the ESIA into detailed plans before funding decisions are taken. These should set out the mechanism by which adaptive management will be used to address any unforeseen impacts, or impacts, which are found to be more severe, than predicted.