Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has launched the construction of what is set to become Africa’s largest geothermal plant at Olkaria, Naivasha, about 100 km west of Nairobi.
The Sh82 billion geothermal plant, which was unveiled on Monday by President Mwai Kibaki, will add 280 megawatts (MW) of power to the national grid once it is completed in mid 2014.
The project will be built in the Olkaria complex where the two other plants, Olkaria 1 and Olkaria 2, are located. The complex is currently generating 150MW of power.
KenGen’s chief executive officer Eddy Njoroge said the project will be the company’s greatest asset to move Kenya away from over-reliance on hydro power generation.
“It will raise our total generating capacity by 25 per cent at a go, pumping into the national grid 280MW of power in 2014,” said Mr Njoroge.
The implementation of the project, which is funded jointly by KenGen, the Kenyan government, AFD, World Bank, EIB, KfW and JICA, has been divided into four sections, namely steam field development, plant construction, transmission lines and substation, and project consultancy.
Sinopec of China will handle steam field development, while a consortium of Toyota Tshusho of Japan and Hyundai Engineering & Construction of South Korea will undertake plant construction.
On the other hand, KEC of India will undertake the transmission lines and substation, while New Zealand’s Sinclair Knight Mertz is in-charge of the project consultancy.
The contractors are already on site and have laid the groundwork for the construction.