Menengai geothermal power project to be launched soon

Saturday June 30 2018

A steam well drilled by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) at Menengai. The Menengai geothermal power project is at last showing signs of yielding fruit with plans to launch it in there months time now complete. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Menengai geothermal power project is at last showing signs of yielding fruit after millions of shillings were invested in it.

With this development, the supply of geothermal power in the country is set to increase.

During the Geothermal Association of Kenya (GAK) annual general meeting held at Hotel Cathay in Nakuru County on Friday, experts said the project will be launched within three months.

The project, which recently received support from the African Development Bank (AfDB), is now expected to generate enough power to supply about half a million households and over 300,000 businesses.


Geothermal Development Company (GDC) General Manager for Resource Development Cornel Ofwona told Nation that preparations to launch the mega power project which is expected to generate about 35MW of power are almost complete.


“We have signed a funding agreement with the African Development Bank and in this first quarter we will be breaking ground. It has taken time but launching of the project is coming really soon,” Mr Ofwona said.

Since beginning of the project in 2011, it has not supplied power to the country, despite earlier expectations that it would be launched by 2016.


Mr Ofwona said several independent power producers have completed procedures for actualising the power project.

Nakuru County which hosts Menengai and Ol Karia, out of the 16 geothermal power sites, is set to receive more focus in the generation of green energy as the industry targets to produce over 10,000MW to attain an industrialised state.

“We have the potential to produce 10,000MW across northern to southern parts of the North Rift region. The focus of development is in Ol Karia and Menengai sites where there lies much potential too,” said GAK chairman Abel Rotich.

Mr Rotich said the country’s current geothermal power production is at 613MW, a figure much lower than what is targeted.

“Our target is to expand this resource because it is reliable, renewable, sustainable and green. We are aiming to reach an adequate supply of electricity in the country,” said Mr Rotich.

However, he noted that more studies and research needed in the sector despite the endeavours being capital intensive.

GAK is planning to come up with a five-year strategic plan as well as publish the Geothermal Africa Magazine, said its board during the AGM.