Africa’s Wind Power Scandal: Vestas Uses Tribal Rivalry to Steal Kenyan Farmland

Here’s some the wind industry stole earlier: Kinangop, Kenya.


Having watched five episodes of Danish docu-drama Follow the Money, STT is certain that the wind scamming outfit under investigation for investor fraud, Energreen, was modelled on Vestas.

Just like Energreen, Vestas has infiltrated every level of social and political life in Denmark; and just like Energreen has been the subject of criminal investigations, for defrauding Indian creditors and ‘co-investors’ to the tune of 140 million kroner, among other things (see our post here).

Gifted with the same kind of ‘green’ moral fibre, Vestas has been preying upon the corrupt regimes of Africa, including Kenya.

But their mercenary malfeasance hasn’t gone unnoticed. A group of methodical Danish, Kenyan and Dutch journalists have pulled together a dossier on Vesta’s misdeeds in Kenya, focusing on: ‘Prostitution, alcoholism and a lawsuit on illegal land acquisition in the Lake Turkana Wind Power project’

That investigation follows the murder of a young farm boy, killed during riots over the theft of farmland at Kinangop by another wind farm developer (see our post here) – backed by Australian investment bank Macquarie Group, which wrote off $66 million after the project was abandoned (see our post here).

Stealing land is, apparently, seen as good business practice by the wind industry; wherever it goes, Africa no exception.

In Africa it’s able to profit from long-held animosity between tribes and racial groups, exploiting old rivalries in its quest to wrest control over the land its needs to spear these things all over African soil.  However, the wind industry’s treatment of indigenous people isn’t really discriminatory: they treat everybody that stands in their way with the same high-handed contempt.

Here’s a summary of their work, a link to their full report appears below.


A People in the way of Progress

Louise Voller, Anders Brønd Christensen, Geoffrey Kamadi and Han van de Wiel.
June 2016

Chapter 1: Storm ahead for Vestas as giant Kanyan Wind Power project is in court.

As wind turbines begin to arrive in Kenya by the hundreds, a court case about illegal land acquisition in Northern Kenya drags on between nomadic tribes, an international consortium and the government, while tensions are on the rise in local communities. Danwatch visited Northern Kenya to get a closer look at the impacts of Kenya’s largest-ever private investment.

Behind this investigation

Green energy is expected to be a significant part of the solution to Africa’s energy problems. But what new problems may arise if progress exacts at a high cost?

Lake Turkana Wind Power is the largest private investment ever in Kenya, and Danish and international companies and investors have already sunk millions of euros into the project. But they now await a court decision which will determine whether the land on which the turbines will be built was illegally acquired.

This investigation is the first of two parts of a journalistic investigation carried out in Kenya from March 2-11 2016, where ngo’s, politicians, experts in land rights and indigenous peoples’ rights and community members have been interviewed by an international collaborative team of journalists. Desk research, including data collection through Freedom of Information Act, research in this field as well as interviews with experts on human and land rights was conducted from December 2015 – May 2016.

Partners in Lake Turkana Wind Power project have had the opportunity to be interviewed and furthermore comment on the findings of this investigation prior to the publishing date.

wind turbine

Key findings

  • Danwatch has conducted 24 interviews with ethnic groups in Sarima and the catchment area, Gatab, Loiyangalani, Kargi and Marsabit. Most communities approve of the wind power project, but claims of no public consultations prior to Lake Turkana Wind Power projects land acquisition in 2007 have been raised. The land rights issue is now in court.
  • Prostitution, violence and alcoholism have now come to the resettled community Sarima, because of expectations of jobs, which the project has not been able to fulfill due to an influx of people.
  • The consortium does not recognize 3 out of 4 tribes as indigenous people, and therefore they are not given rights as such in the project. The tribes in question, Turkanas, Samburus, Rendile and El Molo are recognized as indigenous peoples by The African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights as well as experts interviewed by Danwatch.
  • Experts in IFC Standards, indigenous peoples rights and land rights in Kenya say to Danwatch that the wind power project is not in compliance with neither IFC Performance Standards nor international human rights standards.

Chapter 2: A timeline of events

Click to see timeline
Click to see interactive timeline


Chapter 3: A village in the way of progress

The story in brief:

  • Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Northern Kenya is in court over allegations of illegal land acquisition
  • There was no public consultation, before the land was given away, no reservations from the residents and no compensation, which is a violation of Trust Land Act and the Constitution, plaintiffs state
  • The consortium, consisting of international lenders and companies “denies each and every allegation set out in the plaint”
  • The consortium claims that local host communities (Samburu, Turkana and El Molo Ed.) are fully in support of the project and do not feel the plaintiffs represent them
  • Lake Turkana Wind Power project is Kenya’s biggest private investment ever at a value of approximately 620 million euros. It is due to be fully operational in 2017.

Read full Danwatch Report_A-PEOPLE-IN-THE-WAY-OF-PROGRESS-2016

kenyan protest3

2 thoughts on “Africa’s Wind Power Scandal: Vestas Uses Tribal Rivalry to Steal Kenyan Farmland

  1. Surely there can be no greater indictment of the green movement and the wind industry rent seekers who ride the subsidy funded greenhouse gravy-train promoted by these ideologically obsessed individuals?
    Hypocrites without peer, the wind lobby has no sense of guilt concerning its crimes against humanity, by forcing these third world people to pay for unaffordable, unreliable renewable power it is robbing them of any chance of improving their current brutally short, poverty stricken lives.

  2. Hats off to you, STT, for this well-researched piece, shocking though it is, and the report even more so.

    Fossil fuels may be dirty, but the so-called clean and green of wind is a filthy and corrupt business the world over.

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