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Kenya clean energy revolution dogged by land disputes

Lake Turkana wind farm is the largest private investment in Kenya’s history, 310MW worth of turbines to be spread over 162 square kilometres.

Due for completion this summer, six years behind its original schedule, the project is fighting legal battles against four nomadic communities upset at the encroachment on their traditional territory. The smaller Kinangop wind project was cancelled last year after protests turned violent.

These are among 32 African land disputes listed in a report published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and TMP Systems on Thursday.

“The green investments are stuck for the same reasons as the brown ones,” said Andy White, coordinator at RRI, a coalition that advocates for community land rights worldwide.

White expressed surprise to see renewable energy projects stirring tensions, particularly ones backed by investors from the UK, Norway, Denmark and Netherlands – “progressive” countries on climate change and human rights.

JB Dodane

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