140MW geothermal power plant in Kenya to be constructed

140MW geothermal power plant in Kenya to be constructed

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has plans to construct 140MW geothermal power plant in Kenya before the end of 2016.

Abel Rotich, KenGen Geothermal Development Director, said that his organization has already secured funding to the tune of US$300m for the construction of the geothermal power plant in Kenya.

According to Rotich, the process to identify the project contractor will kick off in October 2016. Later conclusions will be made to finalize the tendering process that will result in selecting the project contractor in order to commence the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a 140MW geothermal plant as soon as before the year ends.

Olkaria V power plant is about 100km northwest of Nairobi, and is said it will take 18 months to complete. In the meantime, KenGen is producing 540MW of geothermal power as another independent power producer is producing another 140MW.

On the Rift Valley region, the East African nation has an estimated potential of 7,000MW of geothermal power. Additionally geothermal steam exploration is carried out by the Kenya national government and the steam will be sold to power firms to convert it into energy.

Currently, Kenya is prioritizing the exploitation of geothermal resource as it is a reliable renewable source of energy, in fact geothermal is a resource that is owned by Kenya and therefore electricity production comes at a low cost.

Geothermal will continue to be a significant source of electricity because it is not affected by climate change. Other sources of power such as hydropower are susceptible to changes in the rainfall pattern. Kenya’s energy sector is largely dominated by petroleum and electricity, with wood fuel providing the basic energy needs of the rural communities, urban poor, and the informal sector.

So far Kenya has installed a capacity of 2.3GW. While about 32% is thermal, 57% is hydro power and the rest comprises geothermal and emergency thermal power. Solar PV and Wind power play a minor role contributing less than 1%. However, hydropower has ranged from 38-76% of the generation mix due to poor rainfall. Thermal energy sources have been used to make up for these shortfalls, varying between 16-33% of the mix

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