The Kinangop wind farm has experienced a flurry of opposition, and protests that even left one person dead. The 61MW and $144 million project is expected to bring power to 150,000 Kenyan homes by 2018, but must overcome the fears of neighboring farmers who have been hit with anti-wind propaganda.
It seems politics can be blamed for fear mongering and leading local farmers to believe they will be forced to sell their land to make way for the wind farm. At a public rally, the governor of Nyandarua County, Waithaka Mwangi said, “All the problems around this project are a result of incitement by (opposition) politicians taking advantage of people’s ignorance about this project to excite emotions.” Unfortunately, the wind farm was expected to be operational by 2016, but this date could be pushed back as a result of resistance from the local community.
CEO of Kinagop Wind Park, James Wakaba says “This is a huge capital venture that we have taken time and energy to plan and implement while observing all accepted international standards for energy undertakings.”
However, locals are fearing that their health may be compromised and a court filing outlines the concerns that farmers were not compensated fairly or consistently, that land wasn’t bought at a consistent price per acre. Not to mention protestors are also concerned that the wind farm will not bring any real benefit to the surrounding community.
One of the leaders of a protest, David Njuguna said, “The developers have not disclosed the full information of this project to us and we think it will do more harm than good to us.”
Perhaps the wind farm developers could make the community a monetary offer through profit sharing in exchange for support of the project. They could improve and benefit the local community and provide economic growth.