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Kenya: Olkaria V geothermal project on course

Plans are at an advanced stage to connect a new geothermal power plant, Olkaria V with an installed capacity of 165.4 MW into the country’s national power grid.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC, (KenGen) has made considerable progress in the construction of Olkaria V Geothermal Power which is a project spread across three contracts namely; Lot I -Steamfield development, Lot II-Power Plant and Lot II – High Voltage sub-station and transmission lines. The project will cost USD 450 million. Construction contracts have been financed through a combination of KenGen’s internally generated funds and a loan facility from Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) that was signed in March 2016.

The power plant contract commenced in January 2017 and is for a period of 30 months with commissioning scheduled for July 2019.

The project is being implanted under the various EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contracts whereby most of the design and engineering is complete while most key equipment have been procured and are at different stages of assembly on site. KenGen completed the drilling of the geothermal wells that will supply steam to drive the power plant in 2016. The power generated at the plant will be evacuated through high voltage power lines from Olkaria to Suswa sub-station.

The commissioning of Olkaria V will lead to a total installed capacity of geothermal power for KenGen to 699 MW. The construction of Olkaria V is in line with KenGen’s strategy for harnessing affordable and renewable base load energy in support to the country’s energy needs and the required enabler for the Big Four growth pillars of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare.

The projects is divided into four lots- consultancy services, procurement and construction of steamfield, engineering, procurement and construction of the power plant, engineering, construction and procurement of high voltage substations and transmission lines

Construction of the power plant, which comprises two units, began in January 2017 and is set for commissioning in July 2019. The two units are under construction by the Consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd and H-Young & Company E.A Limited.

KenGen, East Africa’s largest energy producer, plans to deliver steam for Unit one by January 2019 and for Unit two by April 2019.

Commercial operation of Unit one (82MW) has been scheduled for mid-April while that for Unit two is set for July 2019. Also in the pipeline is Olkaria 1 Unit 6 (83MW).

Speaking during a tour of the project in Naivasha, the company’s Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Rebecca Miano, was upbeat about the progress made so far. “We are happy with the milestones our team has made. Everything is on schedule and this ties with our future plans for geothermal energy production,” she said.

KenGen’s strategy focuses on increasing geothermal energy to meet the country’s growing electricity demand.

During the last financial year, the company’s revenue generated from geothermal power plants increased from 16.1 billion in 2017 to 17.1 billion in 2018 which translated to a growth of six percent.

Two generators, each weighing more than 130 tonnes, have been delivered on site. Installation of Unit one generator is in progress. Installation of unit two generator will follow immediately after installation of unit one is completed.

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