Turkana wind power HR advisory and employment services

Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) is a 310MW wind farm, the largest in Africa. It comprises 365 Vestas wind turbines, 850kW each, providing 15 -20% of Kenyan national demand when operational.

Grid connection is via a 400kv purpose-built double circuit 428km transmission line that will allow for further expansion of the national grid and the development of additional power generation projects.

The location is remote and entailed the upgrading of over 200km of secondary access roads and the construction of 100km of internal roadways. Vestas was responsible for a €300 million engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the supply and installation of the V52 turbines at LTWP.

The project was considered ‘high risk’ with funding being declined by the World Bank on concerns about the construction of the transmission line, the African Development Bank (AfDB) underwrote the transmission project with co-lenders being Standard Bank and Nedbank of South Africa.

The project was the largest single EPC contract ever to have been undertaken by Vestas at that time.

AltGen was engaged by Vestas in two phases: the first phase entailed leading the compilation of the construction team, and the second phase, initiated approximately 18 months later, involved recruitment and selection of the operations and maintenance staff.

Both phases encompassed full responsibility for recruitment and selection of all appropriate staff including developing job profiles, interviewing, selection matrix development, sourcing, screening, background checks, competency testing, compiling offers of employment, relocation, on-boarding and integration into the corporate environment.

The project required very close collaboration with both the Construction Project Manager prior to and during construction and the Service Manager in the hand-over phase into operations and maintenance.

The two main challenges encountered were:

  1. dealing with misalignment between a European OEM / EPC with limited emerging market exposure and local Kenyan expectations, and;
  2. the sourcing and selection of local resources in an extremely remote location in Marsabit County in far Northern Kenya, an area which borders Ethiopia to the North and which is populated predominantly by nomadic pastoralists.

The district is 70 000km in size, with the nearest town, Loiyangalani, pop. of approximately 1000, serving as the epicentre of service provision for the eastern Turkana area. Nevertheless, the project was successfully executed with all required resources being appointed in both Nairobi and on-site, and a significant number of the technicians being sourced either from the local community or being individuals originally from the area.

Engaging with corporate “as is” and “to be” states, including an investigation into general conditions of employment (allowances and benefits) and employee satisfaction. Part of this type of engagement may include a critique of current employer structures, recruitment, and HR engagement, as well as defining wordage in the employment discourse concurrent with the implementation of Employee Handbooks.

In these type of instances, AltGen may be retained, for a monthly fee, to manage fully outsourced HR in conditions of corporate adjustment. Examples may include where an outsourced employment strategy has not produced results and the employment function is internalized, or alternatively where internal employment is externalized (outsourced) for a variety of operational reasons.

AltGen’s longstanding relationship with Vestas has resulted in additional services to support the company on their project in Kenya, AltGen provided recruitment and employment services for 36 staff members.

Services included:

  • Recruitment and selection of the appropriate candidate
  • On-boarding of the candidate and contract establishment
  • Timekeeping and payroll processes
  • HR advisory
Priscilla Gibson, Associate Director at AltGen fly's into LTWP to conduct HR Consulting Services.
Community members in Lake Turkana.
Wind turbines at LTWP.
Construction works at Lake Turkana Wind Power plant