Olkaria V Geothermal Project
May 05, 2017
Kenyan utility KenGen recently said that it plans to kick off the 140-MW Olkaria V geothermal project before the end of this year.
The new project is part of a drilling program that KenGen is running to supply steam for more than 400 MW of capacity that is planned for development in the next two to four years, KenGen said in a Dec. 14 statement. KenGen has drilled 137 wells since 2007, and eight rigs are in operation at the Olkaria steam fields.
The company said that it also is planning to build the Olkaria VI plant at 140 MW by 2021. Geothermal sources currently account for one-third of Kenya’s installed capacity estimated at 2,150 MW, but they provide more than half of the energy generated due to its high energy yield and stability against weather variations.
KenGen plans to add at least 3,000 MW of energy capacity to the national grid by 2018, mostly from renewable sources, such as geothermal and wind.
In addition recently the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta broke ground for the construction of the Olkaria V power project which will produce 158 MW of electricity, strengthening his administration’s resolve to ensure Kenya has sufficient electricity.
The President at the same time commissioned 14 wellhead units producing a total of 75 MW of electricity. The ‘wellhead unit’ is a unique technology developed by Kenyan engineers to harness geothermal power, which has reduced the duration between the first drilling of a well and installation of a geothermal plant from five years to two years.
The commissioning of the power projects is set to see more Kenyan households access electricity. In the last four years that the Jubilee Government has been in office, electricity connections have risen to 5.9 million representing 63 per cent from 2.26 million which accounted for only 16 per cent of the country’s population with access to electricity.“Once again, the path is clear: we expect that the peak load will grow to about 15,000 MW by 2030; that demand will be met by raising installed capacity gradually to 19,200 MW by 2030,” said the President
He said the expansion of geothermal power production will contribute to Kenya’s prosperity. “In commissioning these wells, and in breaking ground for the new project, we take a mighty step on the road to prosperity for this nation,” said the President.
Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua and Japan’s Ambassador to Kenya also spoke at the function.
Adapted from Renewable Energy World Editors and a report By PSCU