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Lake Turkana wind farm may face court battle over land issues

The High Court in Meru, Kenya, last week rejected a request to stop the development of the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project but restricted construction activities to 87,500 acres of the total 150,000 acres plot on which it is sited.

Residents of the Laisamis constituency in the Marsabit County, where the project is located, claim the project had acquired 150,000 acres of their ancestral land without following due procedures.

Justice Peter Njoroge of the Environment and Land Court last Wednesday rejected their request to stop the development of the wind farm. He ordered the Marsabit County Assembly to form a panel to arbitrate the matter within 90 days and present a report whether or not an agreement was reached to the court.

If the parties fail to settle the matter during arbitration, the case will proceed to full hearing in court, Justice Njoroge said in his ruling.

LTWP acctually sits on 40,000 acres of land, according to its website. The entire concession area is 150,000 acres but the actual project site covers 40,000 acres and out of these 40,000 acres, only 87.5 acres will have physical structures. The remaining land will primarily be used as livestock grazing grounds by the local nomadic population and serve as a buffer zone to ensure free flow of wind to the turbines.

On completion, the wind farm is planned to comprise 365 Vestas wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW, or 310 MW in total nameplate capacity for the whole wind farm. The power produced will be bought at a fixed price of KES 8.6 (USD 0.085 / EUR 0.078) per kWh by Kenya Power (KPLC) over a 20-year period.

The LTWP consortium includes KP&P Africa BV and Aldwych International as co-developers, Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Vestas Eastern Africa Limited, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd, KLP Norfund Investments AS and Sandpiper Limited.

In October, developers reported they had already installed 155 turbines on site.