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Google Cancels Plan to Buy Into Largest African Wind Farm Due to Delay

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Google has cancelled it’s initial plan to buy into the 310 megawatts Lake Turkana wind farm in Kenya. The project was initially set for completion 2017, after which Google had committed to buy a  12.5 per cent stake from Danish Wind Maker, Vestas.

The investment would have marked  Google’s second project into renewable energy in Africa. In 2013 Google invested $12m into the continent’s largest solar PV plant, a 96MW installation in South Africa.

In a blog, Google said it was “as optimistic as ever” about the potential for clean energy. “We’ve continued to see a big opportunity in fast-growing markets with rich renewable energy resources. Where both the need and the potential are great,”

Buying into the project would help Google accelerate the deployment of renewable energy globally. This includes emerging markets like Kenya, where there is an opportunity to have a transformative impact on the energy grid.

However, this project was halted by a number of delays and Google hasn’t commented on the cancellation.

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By 2017, The wind farm was ready for launch but has remained inactive majorly due to delays in installing transmission lines needed to get the clean power to the national grid and customers.

Another barrier was due to demands for compensation from landowners along the route surrounding the 428 km powerline. Later the line further delayed after a Spanish firm contracted to build the line went under.

Due to the unending complications, Vestas has recently confirmed that the Vestas agreement with Google was cancelled in 2019.

“Due to delays relating primarily to the transmission line, the Vestas agreement with Google was cancelled in 2019,” said Vestas.

To add on, “ Vestas’ strategy doesn’t include being a long-term wind park owner.  we’re currently in commercial dialogues with other potential buyers of our shares.”

So far Google has invested $2bn in 22 clean energy projects around the world, including investment in rooftop solar and data centres powered by renewable energy.

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