Centum seeks funding for geothermal plant

Centum Investment Company #ticker:CTUM is seeking strategic investors to raise capital for the multibillion shilling 70-megawatt (MW) project in the Akiira Valley of Olkaria, Naivasha after confirming geothermal resources.

Centum’s renewable energy company Akiira Geothermal in 2020 turned to KenGen for help in its steam generation quest after the two wells it sank in Naivasha at a cost of Sh1.2 billion failed to meet production capacity.

“The geoscientific studies conducted by KenGen showed that the Akiira field has good prospects for producing the planned 70 MW of output for the first phase of the project,” said Fred Murimi, the managing director for Centum Capital in response to the Business Daily queries.

“Akiira is currently in discussions with potential strategic and financing partners to enable it to complete the geothermal exploration phase necessary to reach financial close with lenders and then draw down on debt funding to complete the project.”

The exploration drilling phase should take about 12 to 18 months, added Mr Murimi.

The power project is based in Akiira Valley in Naivasha. The firm is banking on the planned drilling and investment from investors to kickstart the building of the power plant whose cost is projected at €310 million (Sh39 billion).

The first two wells, whose drilling works started in 2015, encountered some steam which was, however, not enough to support power generation to be connected to the national grid.

Centum owns a 37.5 percent equity stake in the Akiira consortium, with the remaining 62.5 percent owned by American firms Ram Energy, Marine Power, and Danish company Frontier Markets.

Akiira had signed a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC in August 2015.

Centum said earlier the firm would begin fresh negotiations with the European Investment Bank after it pulled the plug on a Sh19.5 billion loan over the project’s viability and environmental concerns.


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