The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) on Thursday announced it has completed plans for extension of the existing Olkaria I units 4 & 5 geothermal power plants, and has now engaged Marubeni Corporation to implement unit 6 with an installed capacity of 83MW.Olkaria I Power Station was the first geothermal power plant in Africa. The 45 MW plant was commissioned in three phases and has three units each generating 15MW of electricity.
The new power plant is expected to add green energy to the national grid by the year 2021 in a move geared towards further boosting the country’s installed electricity capacity under the government’s Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) 2017 – 2035. Kenya’s total installed capacity currently stands at 2,370MW.
The project will be financed through the balance of funds saved from the completed Olkaria 280MW geothermal project under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) facility.
While announcing the new development in Nairobi, KenGen Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Miano said the 83MW Olkaria I unit 6 project was also part of KenGen’s ten-year strategic plan.
“Additionally, our objective is to create value for shareholders by providing sufficient return through delivery of a return on invested capital and supplying affordable electricity from renewable sources,” she added.
At the end of the last Financial Year, June 2016-2017, the firm had installed capacity of 1,631MW. The company’s leading energy type is hydro (818MW) followed by geothermal at 534MW, thermal at 253.5MW and wind at 25.5MW.
The contract for engineering, procurement and construction of the new power plant has been awarded to a Japanese company, Marubeni Corporation. This will be Marubeni’s first geothermal plant project in Africa.
Globally countries are shifting to usage of renewable sources of energy owing to the small amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere.
Geothermal energy is considered a stable source of energy and an important load energy source producing about 43 per cent of the electricity in Kenya.