KenGen partners Japan’s Toshiba ESS for operation and maintenance of geothermal power plants

KENYAKenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), the largest producer of geothermal energy in East Africa, has signed a partnership with Japan’s Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS).

The two companies will exploit geothermal energy in several countries.

With 799 MWe in operation, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is the leading producer of geothermal energy in Africa.

Although its geothermal plants are located solely in Kenya, the company is already beginning to export its expertise in developing geothermal projects in East Africa, including Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The agreement provides for an operation and maintenance (O&M) services partnership for geothermal power plants in developing countries, including East African countries, “through the combination of KenGen’s and Toshiba ESS’s expertise and networks,” the two companies said in a joint statement.

“A study is underway to identify geothermal resources in the Great Rift Valley, a north-south tectonic plate boundary with immense geothermal potential. Both companies are delighted to be cooperating on this opportunity, and anticipate further commercial expansion,” said KenGen.

The two companies have already cooperated on several geothermal projects in Kenya.

Toshiba ESS has supplied four sets of 70 MW steam turbines and generators for the Olkaria I and IV geothermal plants for KenGen. In all, the Japanese company has delivered 60 geothermal power generation packages with a total capacity of about 3,790 MW worldwide.

The two partners want to support other Rift Valley countries in exploiting their geothermal potential. Kenya is currently leading the way with an installed capacity of 863 MWe. This puts the country in seventh place worldwide.

Meanwhile, KenGen has finally embarked on geothermal drilling in Djibouti, after close to one year of studies and exploration.

Under the KSh700 million (US$5.82m) project, the power generating company is set to drill three geothermal wells in the country on behalf of the Djiboutian Office of Geothermal Energy Development (ODDEG).

The Djibouti project is the third mega geothermal drilling contract that the company is implementing in the continent.

Already, Kengen has completed the drilling of several wells in the neighboring country of Ethiopia where it was contracted to drill 12 geothermal wells in Tulu Moye region.

 

Voltalia & Trina Solar complete construction of Kesses solar pv plant

Meanwhile, the French company Voltalia and the Chinese company Trina Solar are completing the construction of the Kesses solar photovoltaic power plant in Kenya. The 55.6 MWp project is being developed by the Spanish energy company Alten Energías Renovables.

The construction phase of the Kesses solar photovoltaic power plant is now complete. The announcement was made by the Chinese company Trina Solar, which carried out the construction (EPC) of the plant in partnership with the French company Voltalia.

Trina Solar subcontracted the assembly of the Kesses solar power plant to PFI Renewables, a company based in Madrid, Spain.

The solar plant is located in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. The solar panels, 103,936 in total, are mounted on 928 single-axis trackers. This device allows the panels to be oriented in the direction of the sun’s rays.

The trackers thus increase the productivity of the solar panels. The Kesses solar power plant has a capacity of 55.6 MWp, or an annual capacity of 123,000 MWh.

According to PFI, once operational, the plant will be able to cover the electricity needs of at least 245,000 Kenyan households while diversifying the East African country’s electricity mix.

Financing for the Kesses solar plant was completed in early 2022 with the participation of Standard Bank and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a financing facility of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG).

The Kesses solar farm is covered by a power purchase agreement (PPA) which stipulates that Alten will sell all the electricity produced to the state-owned Kenya Power Corporation (KPLC).

The solar plant will therefore be connected to a pre-existing 230 kV transmission line between the Turkwel hydroelectric plant (56 MW) and the Lessos substation. This power line crosses the site of the plant.

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