Kenya is Africa’s largest producer of geothermal energy. This performance was achieved after the completion of several projects; including the Menengai geothermal power plant in western Kenya. According to media reports, the East African country has increased its production from 168 MWe to 672 MWe in 6 years.
As reported by Think geo energy, a public tender for the construction of Menengai geothermal power plant project was released in September 2013, the contract was awarded to OrPower22 (Ormat), Quantum Power East Africa and Sosian Energy.
Each one of the three companies was expected to set up at least a 35MW modular geothermal power plant under a build-own-operate model to generate a cumulative 105MW.
The PPA with Kenya Power was signed in October 2014, followed by a project implementation and steam supply agreement with GDC. Drilling was done by GDC with H.Young building the steam gathering system under an EPC agreement.
In April 2019, Kenya’s independent power producer (IPP) Sosian Energy, signed a deal worth US $65m with a Chinese company: Kaishan Renewable Energy Development, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Kaishan Compressor, to build Menengai III geothermal power plant in western Kenya.
Under the contract, the Chinese company was tasked to drill geothermal wells and install pipes to transport steam to run the turbines of the geothermal power plant. Zhejiang Kaishan also won $18m contract to operate and maintain the future Menengai III geothermal power plant for a period of 14 years.
Think geo energy also reported that the Construction on the first 35 MW geothermal plant in Menengai kicked off in December 2019.
The Construction of Menengai geothermal power plant has finally been completed. According to pumps Africa, African Development Bank (ADB) which is the main financial partner of the project, allocated a total of 108 million dollars for the project. ADB released a project completion report that was published on October 6th 2020.
According to the report, Menengai geothermal power plant, with its 105 MWe, brings the national production of geothermal energy to 672 MWe, making Kenya the first African producer of this renewable energy source. The report also states that the 105 MW power plant consists of 49 steam drillings.
In a statement released by Quantum Power, Menengai Geothermal Project is the second geothermal independent power project in the country, which will strengthen public-private partnerships and enable the country to harness its abundant geothermal resources to provide reliable, low-cost, environmentally friendly base-load electricity.
The project will enable Kenya to make up its electricity shortfall. In the late 2000s the country experienced severe power shortages due to variability in hydropower generation; and had to rely on expensive back-up thermal generation from 2011 to 2018. But with the commissioning of the Menengai geothermal power plant, 500,000 households, including 70,000 in rural areas of the country, will be connected to the electricity grid.