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KenGen launches Olkaria V geothermal project

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Kenya’s power producer KenGen has announced the launch of the 158MW Olkaria V Geothermal Power Plant which the company says is part of its green energy programme aimed at ensuring a steady supply of energy at affordable cost in line with Vision 2030 ambition.

The project has been funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to a tune of Sh40 billion and completion is slated for 2018.

The 158MW Olkaria V geothermal Power project will involve the construction of two geothermal power units of 79MW each.

The groundbreaking ceremony for Olkaria V geothermal project which was graced by president Uhuru Kenyatta also coincides with the commissioning of 75MW of Wellhead Units which is a success story in KenGen’s efforts to scale up the provision of green, reliable and affordable energy in the fastest way possible for national development.

President Kenyatta hailed KenGen for its top notch innovation that is spearheading the country towards sustainable green energy.

“Innovation must be the new identity of Kenyan institutions if we are going to see the transformation Kenyans demand,” said the President.

On his part, Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Charles Keter, said Kenya is keen on modernizing its energy system by adding renewable capacity as evidenced by the raft of policies that have been implemented in recent times.

Feed-in-tariffs policy

“We are also working on the feed-in-tariffs policy on wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydro power systems, which is intended to encourage accelerated investment in green energy,” he said.

Under the policy, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) will be able sign long-term Power Purchase Agreements with investors to promote the development of renewable energy.

The groundbreaking of the Olkaria V power project comes even as the state owned power producer has just completed plan for the first batch of wellhead units with a total capacity of 75MW

The Wellhead early generation units is a KenGen innovation that ensures electricity generation from the wells before a main power plant is put up. Based on the huge success of this project, KenGen is targeting to install additional capacity using similar technology to its growing portfolio of geothermal energy.

KenGen also plans to put up an Industrial Park at its Olkaria Geothermal power generation hub in Naivasha, Nakuru County (120kms from the capital city, Nairobi).

KenGen CEO and MD Eng. Albert Mugo says the company is evaluating the possibility of setting up a subsidiary that will oversee non-core activities that are proving to be critical revenue streams.

The company will be 100 per cent owned by KenGen and offer consultancy services not just for players in geothermal but also other sectors, including oil and mining both in Kenya and the region.

Mr Mugo said that KenGen will be bidding to do more jobs in oil, geothermal or other areas  with their expertise. The Chief executive said the company boasts of three powerful rigs that can drill up to four Kilometres below the ground and a team of personnel that has unmatched skills capabilities.

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