Google Invests in Africa’s Largest Windfarm

A mast measuring wind direction and speed at Lake Turkana, northern Kenya

Chris Staubo (L), deputy managing director at Lake Turkana Wind Power and Nick Taylor, COO look up at a mast measuring wind direction and speed at the site at Loiyangalani near Lake Turkana, northern Kenya. Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Internet giant to acquire 12.5% stake in Lake Turkana windfarm in Kenya, reports Business Green

Google announced plans yesterday to take a 12.5% stake in Africa’s largest windfarm, Lake Turkana, once the project becomes operational in 2017.

The firm will purchase its stake in the windfarm from Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems, becoming the project’s third largest investor. However, the company did not disclose the value of the deal.

The investment marks Google’s second foray into renewable energy in Africa. In 2013 the internet giant invested $12m (£8m) into the continent’s largest solar PV plant, a 96MW installation in South Africa. In total, Google said it has invested $2bn in 22 clean energy projects around the world, including investment in roof top solar and data centres powered by renewable energy.

In a blog post Google said it was “as optimistic as ever” about the potential for clean energy. “We’ve continued to see a big opportunity in fast-growing markets with rich renewable energy resources, where both the need and the potential are great,” it said.

“These efforts not only make business sense, they can help accelerate the deployment of renewable energy globally – including in emerging markets like Kenya, where there is an opportunity to have a transformative impact on the energy grid.”

Once completed, Lake Turkana will deliver 310 MW of clean power to Kenya’s grid – enough to power two million households. Google said the project would also help reduce Kenya’s reliance on fossil fuels and diesel-powered generators.

In addition, a 266-mile transmission line being installed for the project will enable more geothermal projects to come on-grid in the future, Google said.

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