KenGen to add 400MW of geothermal power to the national grid

KENYA – The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has announced a plan to add 400 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power to the national grid in the next five years.

The State agency says the output would completely phase out thermal power. Under the project, KenGen will rehabilitate some of its geothermal power plants and upgrade others as it continues with exploration around Olkaria and Eburru.

The company announced that works on Olkaria 1 Unit Six was complete with the plant undergoing testing.

General Manager Mary Maalu said power demand in the country was on the rise and they targeted 83.3MW from the Olkaria 1 Unit six plant by May this year.

“Currently, engineers are doing the test runs in Olkaria 1 Unit Six and we expect this plant to be commissioned by next month and pump 83.3MW into the national grid,” she said during a consultative meeting with journalists in Naivasha on Saturday.

By 2025, the company targets 40MW from turbine upgrading and 50MW from well head leasing around the geothermal rich area of Olkaria.

Ms Maalu said other plans include tapping an extra 50.7MW by rehabilitating Olkaria I and another 140MW from Olkaria VI power plants.

She said peak demand had increased to 2,036MW by November last year from 1,710MW in 2017, adding that the company was keen on green energy.

Renewable energy accounts for 91 per cent of the electricity generated in the country as the government works on phasing out thermal power, the GM said.

“Olkaria has a potential of 10,000MW of geothermal energy and we are keen to tap this so that the cost of power can go down once we are done with thermal, which is very expensive,” she said.

Acting Geothermal Development Manager Pekesta Mangi said Kenya was leading in Africa in geothermal production.

He said geothermal energy had risen from 45MW in 1985 to 799MW currently, with KenGen identifying 23 spots in the country that had high potential for clean energy.

KenGen completes drilling geothermal wells in Ethiopia

KenGen has completed the drilling of seven geothermal wells in Ethiopia, four at the Aluto-Langano site and three at Tule Moye.

In February 2019, KenGen in a consortium with Shandong Kerui Petroleum Equipment Company and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group won a joint contract to supply geothermal drilling services to the State-owned Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) company.

The Aluto-Langano project started in July and in November the company completed drilling the second well which became the deepest geothermal well in Ethiopia reaching a depth of 3,000 metres.

This reaffirms the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) -listed company’s expertise in geothermal development in Africa, having earlier drilled the deepest geothermal well in the Horn of Africa.

It was contracted to drill eight wells under the Aluto project.

The Ethiopian and Djiboutian ventures are part of KenGen’s ambitious diversification strategy, where the company is seeking to acquire new revenue sourcing through commercial drilling, geothermal consulting, and related services across Africa.

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