Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Huge wind farm to bring change to Kenya

By Boris Bachorz  /  AFP, SOUTH HORR, KENYA

“Kenya is in the midst of pioneering the largest wind power project in Africa and I think, embedded in a green policy of national development,” Steiner said.

“It demonstrates precisely that there is an enormous potential for green energy to succeed in Africa and indeed these projects need to be supported because they break new ground,” he added.

The arrival of the 48m tall wind turbines will radically change the lives of 528 pastoralists — from the Turkana, Samburu, Rendille, Gabra and El Molo tribes — who are still without electricity, running water, telephones, television and even money, relying instead on bartering goods.

LTWP has promised them a 20-year development plan of approximately 1.5 million euros each year. However, they will first temporarily have to shift their village of Sirima to clear the way for the future supply road.

Despite this, local lawmaker Joseph Lekuton said that he was “100 percent with” the project “since the beginning and until the end.”

“The animals will graze where they used to graze,” he said, pointing out that the wind farm would not be fenced off.

For village elder Simon Ekitoe “there will be some good things and some less good things.”

He fears that the arrival of outsiders will bring “new diseases, forced marriages” and that “the women in the village will spurn their traditional dress.”

However, for grandmother Agnes Ngare, with dozens of rings of red beads around her neck and metal earrings dangling from her ears, there is not so much to be worried about.

“I dream that my children and grandchildren will go to school and be able to choose how they want to live their lives,” she said.

“If electricity arrives, that would change my life as I could listen to radio, have a mobile phone and watch television,” she laughed.

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