Kenya seeks Sh7.8bn to ramp up geothermal steam

Friday January 15 2016

The Olkaria IV Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha, Nakuru County, on October 17, 2014.

The Olkaria IV Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha, Nakuru County, on October 17, 2014. FILE PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Kenya has asked the European Investment Bank to fund sinking of additional wells for generation of an extra 70MW at Ol Karia Geothermal well in Naivasha.

Confirming receipt of the proposal, EIB said that environmental impact Assessment Audit had been conducted and a nod given by the National Environmental Management Authority.

If approved, the new geothermal unit will receive Sh7.8billion from EIB making Africa’s first and biggest clean renewable source energy produce 210MW at a go thereby helping fulfill Kenya’s growing demand for electricity.

New turbine

The funds now under EIB consideration will be used to install a new turbine, the necessary wells, steam-gathering system and interconnection facilities which could help Kenya’s goal of reducing the cost of energy.

It said that it would reduce Kenya’s reliance on costly thermal power associated with heavy emission that are harmful to the environment with the identified facility at Hell Gate National Park capable of being expanded further.

EIB promised to ensure the project complied with its environmental and social standards adding that Kenya must have the project tender placed on EU’s Official Journal and that a competitive tendering process is adopted at all stages of the Sh31.7 billion project.

Kenya encourages a Private-Public Partnership(PPP) where contractors sign 30 year deals to build-operate-transfer agreements that enable them to recoup their investment and train local engineers thereby ensuring the project will be sustainable after they live.

Currently underway is Nakuru’s Menengai Crater Geothermal Project where three PPP-led projects are ongoing to develop the 105MW electricity project that could save Kenya upto Sh13 billion annually.