Google has a reputation as an investor in the field of renewable energy. The technology giant has recently announced its newest undertaking: a wind energy project in Kenya. Once the project is completed, it will be the continent’s largest wind farm and renewable energy source and producer. The project has been launched as the Lake Turkana wind power project and is expected to generate approximately 1400 gigawatt-hours of power per year, which is good enough for 15% of the overall electric consumption of Kenya.
The project will incorporate 365 wind turbines, installed along the shores of Lake Turkana. Google has collaborated with a clean energy global company, Vestas, which will be responsible for installing the turbines in Kenya and also for maintaining them for a period of 15 years. The installation is predicted to begin next year. Currently, Vestas has a 12.5% stake in the overall project, which will be bought and taken over by Google once the project comes online, which is predicted by 2017.
The project is one of the biggest private investments in the history of Kenya and is expected to be one of the most efficient wind farms in the world. The project will be able to operate with a capacity factor (actual energy output/potential energy output) of 60% as opposed to other wind farms whose capacity level is less than 35%. Unpredictable wind patterns can affect the production of energy, but Lake Turkana is a perfect place to install wind turbines because the wind blows consistently at a speed of more than 24 mph.
The announcement of the project is like Christmas for Kenya, as the country will be able to save more than $113 million per year on fuel imports. According to Google officials, this project is one of the first in a string of projects that are planned for a clean and eco-friendly environment. Other wind energy investments will be focused on Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.
This is not the first time Google has made ripples in world news for investing in renewable energy. Google’s Project SunRoof allows users to search their address using the online tool to evaluate the amount of space that is available for solar panel installations, determine how much energy can be generated, and how much money it will save.
It is a reminder for world leaders to focus on creating large-scale investments in wind farms and renewable energy projects because they will likely have a massive positive impact, not just in their own countries, but on the overall future of the planet as well.