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Geothermal power from Menengai to be cheaper... at Sh7khw

Saturday February 14 2015

A geo-thermal well at Menengai Crater. Electricity generated from the multibillion-shilling Menengai Geothermal Project in Nakuru County will cost Sh7khw, less than diesel or hydro power. PHOTO | FILE |

A geo-thermal well at Menengai Crater. Electricity generated from the multibillion-shilling Menengai Geothermal Project in Nakuru County will cost Sh7khw, less than diesel or hydro power. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

FRANCIS MUREITHI
By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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Electricity generated from the multibillion-shilling Menengai Geothermal Project in Nakuru County will cost Sh7khw, less than diesel or hydro power, project managing director Dr Silas Simiyu said.

This would be a big relief to consumers who are grappling with escalating power bills since diesel-generated electricity costs Sh22khw.

The Menengai project was begun five years ago by Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and has consumed billions of shillings from the Treasury.

“When electricity is finally generated at Menengai, our country will save more than Sh13 billion annually and ultimately lower the cost of power bills,” he said, adding that Kenya would save some Sh45 billion spent to buy diesel.

“This will attract more investors as they will have a huge saving on energy, creating employment opportunities. Prices of various commodities will drop drastically,” said Dr Simiyu.

At least three independent power producers (IPPs) have moved to the site — the scenic Menengai Crater — and have started building plants capable of generating 105MW.

The IPPs are Sosian Energy, Quantum and OrPowerTwenty Two Company. They will each put up plants to produce 35MW.

Menengai phase one is part of a 5,000MW project by the Jubilee administration to produce affordable, reliable and green energy. GDC plans to develop 810MW by the end of 2016.

The state corporation has drilled steam wells with an output of 120MW. This steam is more than enough for the first 105MW expected to be generated by the end of this year.

The GDC boss opened the Bogoria-Silali block after receiving a Sh10 billion loan from German Development Bank (KfW) to drill 20 wells.

“We expect to generate 200MW from Bogoria-Silali block by the end of 2016. This will increase to 800MW by 2022 — to be the world’s largest geothermal complex,” said Dr Simiyu.

The project will create investment opportunities for IPPs who will put up power plants. Construction of roads and water infrastructure has begun in earnest.