Kenya: KenGen adds another 86MW into the national grid

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta has commissioned KenGen’s Olkaria I Additional Unit 6 Geothermal Power Plant
  • This injects an additional 86MW into the national grid and advances Kenya’s green energy leadership
  • The power plant propels KenGen’s total installed energy capacity to 1,904MW while its geothermal capacity now stands at 799MW

President Uhuru Kenyatta has commissioned KenGen’s Olkaria I Additional Unit (AU) 6 Geothermal Power Plant, injecting an additional 86MW into the national grid. The move by Kenyatta further advances Kenya’s green energy leadership.

According to KenGen, the power plant, which was commissioned in 2018, propels KenGen’s total installed energy capacity to 1,904MW while its geothermal capacity now stands at 799MW.

The company added that the commissioning of the plant further demonstrates the government’s effort to build a greener national energy pool from clean energy sources.

Kenyan government pledges to accelerate deployment of renewable energy to reduce cost of electricity

President Kenya also commissioned another 172MW Olkaria V geothermal Power project earlier developed by KenGen, with construction being completed in 2019.

Speaking when he presided over the official ceremony at Olkaria, President Kenyatta commended the KenGen team and stakeholders involved in undertaking the project, which was implemented during the COVID-19 peak periods in 2020 and 2021.

The President noted that the commissioning of the power plants was aligned with the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) in support of the Government’s Big Four Agenda.

“This is indeed a great milestone for not only KenGen but the rest of Kenyans as far as developing clean energy is concerned. Clean and safe energy is increasingly becoming vital in energy development. Through this approach, we shall attain universal access to electricity in our nation and meet key energy needs,” said the President.

While expressing satisfaction with the country’s clean energy development milestones, the Head of State noted that his government had implemented robust plans to ensure the country attains a 100 per cent transition to clean energy by 2030.

“Since 2013, my administration has increased electricity access from 2.3 million connections to 8.6 million by the end of June 2021, achieving an electricity access rate of over 75%. With 90 per cent of this coming from renewables, I hope that by 2030, we shall have a 100 per cent transition,” said the President.

During the event, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Amb. Dr Monica Juma noted that the Ministry would continue to fulfill its mandate of providing clean and affordable energy for the nation, focusing on countering climate change.

“The completion of this project marks another milestone in Kenya’s efforts towards achieving energy security as well as accelerating economic growth through improved energy access. It represents an important moment in our efforts to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and create a more sustainable future for us all,” said the CS.

Olkaria 2 Power Plants. Photo: KenGen.

For his part, KenGen Board Chairman, Gen. (Rtd) Samson Mwathethe said the project is vital for Kenya, considering that an adequate supply of electricity is undeniably a primary enabler for our economic development. Through the experiences of this project, we are glad we managed to gain new experiences in geothermal development. Notably, the commissioning of Olkaria I Unit 6 propels us an inch closer to the Geothermal Gigawatt Club.”

His sentiments were echoed by KenGen Managing Director and CEO Rebecca Miano. The CEO noted that the company’s geothermal agenda was to increase production in line with the growing demand for power while also ensuring that the business lives up to shareholders’ expectations.

KenGen aims to deliver more medium- and long-term green energy projects focused on supporting the Government’s economic growth agenda and clean energy development.

The company also seeks to deliver over half the capacity from geothermal development and the rest from other clean sources.

In a related story, The Exchange Africa recently reported that drilling of the deepest geothermal wells in Ethiopia by the KenGen has seen the company’s earnings rise sporadically. 

From a total of US$4 million in the previous year to US$15.5 million (KSh 1.7 billion) by the end of June 2021, KenGen’s fortunes are changing. The drilled geothermal plant in Tuly More, Ethiopia, brought back revenues that surpassed expenses in its setting up.  

In the company’s annual report released in June 2021, KenGen noted that drilling the 3000-metre deep wells cost US$13 million. The company has costed for the increased number of staff, drilling, plant operations and maintenance in the Ethiopian operations. 

Kenya Electricity Generating Company Drills Ethiopia’s Deepest Geothermal Well

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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