Google’s high-profile plan to buy a stake in Kenya’s Lake Turkana wind farm project has ended without a deal, Vestas, which developed and supplied turbines to the flagship development, has confirmed to Recharge.
The US technology giant was due to buy the Danish OEM’s 12.5% share in Lake Turkana – a flagship renewable energy project for Africa that took wind power to a new regional high of 310MW – under an agreement struck in 2015 that made headlines around the world as Google hailed it as a landmark in its own green investment strategy.
But Vestas head of communications Anders Riis told Recharge in a statement issued on Monday: “Lake Turkana Wind Park is now fully operational and delivering sustainable energy to the citizens of Kenya. Due to delays relating primarily to the transmission line, Vestas' agreement with Google was cancelled in 2019.
“As Vestas' strategy doesn't include being a long-term wind park owner, we're currently in commercial dialogues with potential buyers of our shares.”
After a blizzard of positive publicity five years ago, Google has since then consistently refused to respond to enquiries from Recharge concerning its plans for Lake Turkana, which was built and equipped by the Danish wind power giant. Google, one of the world's most active corporate backers of renewables, has been contacted again for comment on Vestas’ statement.
Although the wind farm itself was finished ahead of schedule by Vestas in March 2017, it did not enter service until October 2018 after separate efforts to build its transmission link were stalled by financial difficulties at its original contractor and disputes with landowners along its 428km route.
The Lake Turkana project, first envisaged in the late 1990s, was confronted by regular setbacks throughout its long and arduous development , starting from early opposition from local tribes over land access and almost ending with the shock withdrawal of financial backing from the World Bank in October 2012.