The power plant is part of the leading energy generator, Kenya Electricity Generating Company’s ambitious green energy development agenda aimed at delivering 721MW of renewable energy by the year 2020 at an investment close to Ksh135 billion.
KenGen Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Rebecca Miano says the power plant whose construction began in January 2017 and several other green energy projects at different stages of procurement will ensure Kenyans benefit directly from reliable, clean and affordable electricity
“Our focus is on geothermal energy, which is an eco-friendly, renewable and reliable source that can reduce consumers’ utility costs by up to 50%,” she said during a media tour of the Olkaria V project site in Naivasha.
In March 2017, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) won the tender for the turnkey project, together with Mitsubishi Corporation and H. Young & Company (East Africa) Ltd. The Olkaria V geothermal project will add 154 MW to KenGen’s geothermal power generation capacity at Olkaria.
The project is being carried out with an Official Development Assistance loan arrangement, extended to KenGen by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
MHPS will be responsible for the design of the geothermal facilities and will supply the steam turbines, generators, condensers, and other main auxiliaries. MHPS will also send technical advisors to the site to assist H. Young with expertise in installation and commissioning.
In addition, KenGen has successfully drilled steam wells that can generate 374.7MW megawatts at its Olkaria fields. The wells will be used to develop three power plants with a total capacity of 350MW. KenGen intends to continue drilling other wells to supply steam to an additional 70MW unit at the recently unveiled Olkaria I unit 4&5 plants. Olkaria 1 Unit 6, a single unit of 70MW to be constructed at Olkaria 1 has recorded 84MW of steam.
The remaining steam will be used at the wellheads programme to ensure that the steam available is converted to electricity, pending construction of the power plants. This far, the wellhead generation units are providing a total of 45MW of electricity.
Kenya is the eighth largest producer of geothermal globally with a production of 585 MW, which is equivalent to 5 percent of the world’s geothermal energy. KenGen has grown geothermal generation from 17 percent to 40 percent of its electricity portfolio hence reducing over-reliance on hydro and thermal sources for electricity production.
To accelerate its geothermal power production programme, KenGen has also resorted to mobile wellhead plants which are faster to deploy. Fourteen such wellheads are expected to be complete by 2016. Besides, a transmission line connecting a new wellhead Unit 914 has been completed paving the way for injection of a further 27MW from the wellhead units. The Olkaria I Unit 4&5 and Olkaria IV has helped cut electricity bills by about 30 percent since August 2014 following a 65 percent drop in the fuel surcharge to stabilize at just over KES2.50 per kWh lately.