Kenya will this year match Italy in ranking of the world’s largest geothermal powerhouses when the 83-megawatt Olkaria plant is completed.
The country will also join the top five geothermal energy producers once KenGen’s public private partnership plan on the Olkaria VI plant is done with an additional 140MW power which will see Kenya’s capacity climb to 1,080MW in the next three years.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the 83.3MW Olkaria I Unit six power plant is expected to be ready any time after the first half of the year when it will be commissioned and will bring the installed capacity to 944MW, at par with Italy.
Kenya Electricity Generating Company has secured the third well drilling contract after signing two such deals in Ethiopia in 2019, adding to Kenya’s expertise in geothermal power generation.
KenGen is also expected to redevelop Olkaria I to increase the plant’s installed capacity from the current 45MW to 50MW and extend the life of the power plant by 25 years. Geothermal is now Kenya’s top source of electricity, contributing up to 50 percent of the energy consumed every month followed by hydro which supplies between 30 and 36 percent to the grid.
In Africa where Kenya is ranked top, Ethiopia is the only other country with developed geothermal energy (7 MW) and it set to upscale after signing Sh13.4billion drilling deals with KenGen in February and October 2019.
Kenya also plans to scale up its use for steam through its state-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) which will diversify the use of hot steam to pasteurise milk, heat greenhouses and fishponds as well as use in laundromat.
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