Power producer KenGen’s 83MW Olkaria 1 Unit 6 geothermal plant nears completion

KENYA –  Leading electric power generating company Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) says that the construction of the 83 megawatts (MW) Olkaria 1 Unit 6 geothermal plant is nearly complete and is expected to be added to the grid in early 2022.

The firm’s Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Miano said once the plant is operational, it will help drive down the cost of electricity in Kenya by displacing thermal energy while meeting the country’s growing demand for electricity.

Miano reiterated that the plant would help support the government’s effort to achieve 100 percent utilization of renewable energy by the year 2030 as a way of fighting climate change.

“KenGen is committed to ensuring a steady and reliable supply of competitively priced electric energy to support Kenya’s economy. The company is doing this by accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar,” Miano said.

She added that about 86 percent of KenGen’s installed capacity of 1,818MW comes from renewable and clean energy sources, namely hydro, geothermal, and wind.

Speaking during a visit to Olkaria to inspect and assess KenGen’s geothermal power facilities, the country’s Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma noted that KenGen’s shift to renewable energy would help attract foreign investments in Kenya’s energy sector.

She further noted that the government was working to ensure all Kenyans use clean cooking by 2028.

“We are committed to fast-track the deployment of renewable energy as a driver for economic development in the country…My visit to Olkaria comes a month after the conclusion of the COP26 conference where Kenya was a global reference point in the field of renewable energy,” she said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, during his visit to Glasgow for the Climate Change Conference (COP26), said that Kenya was aiming to transition to clean energy by the year 2030, in order to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector.

He noted that renewable energy currently accounts for 73 percent of Kenya’s installed power generation capacity while 90 percent of electricity in use is from green sources among them geothermal, wind, solar, and hydro-electric installations.

“…the energy sector accounts for three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. The critical challenge, therefore, is how to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector while ensuring that all people have access to clean energy.,” Kenyatta said.

“We are on course to achieve our target of 100 percent use of clean energy by 2030 and to achieve 100 percent access to clean cooking by 2028,” he added.

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