Geothermal Power Generation Gets a Boost in Kenya

Geothermal Power Station in Olkaria (Gulf Africa Review)

The Olkaria V Geothermal Power Plant in Nakuru district in the central parts of the Republic of Kenya is set to install two sets of 70 megawatt (MW) steam turbines, generators and auxiliaries. This is after Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS), together with Mitsubishi Corporation and H. Young & Company (East Africa) Ltd., received a full-turnkey order to provide Power Generation Facilities to Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen). The new installation is expected to become operational in 2019.

Located in the Great Rift Valley and about 100 kilometres northwest of Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, the new Olkaria V Geothermal Power Plant will expand existing power plant facilities in the Olkaria geothermal field. This, while increasing power supply from renewable energy, will help ease power supply challenges in Kenya.

The Olkaria V Geothermal Power Plant project is being financed through an ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan arrangement, extended to KenGen by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

MHPS, with a lot of expertise and experience as an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, will provide Technical Advisors to assist H. Young with expertise in installation and commissioning of the geothermal power plant.

MHPS has already supplied six sets of power generating equipment for other Olkaria geothermal power plants. This latest order was awarded in recognition of such equipment's outstanding operating record as well as MHPS's technological strength and EPC track record.

Speaking at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in Nairobi in August 2016, former MHPS President and CEO Takato Nishizawa (recently elected as Vice Chairman) highlighted MHPS's commitment to aid Africa's development through provision of advanced environmental technologies and outstandingly efficient power generating equipment.

“MHPS is committed to working closely with related institutions in implementing various programs to enact the Japanese Government's policy for exporting high-quality infrastructure to meet rising demand for geothermal power in Kenya and throughout Africa. MHPS will also proactively propose solutions in geothermal power generation equipment and facilities not only in Africa but globally, as it seeks to provide highly efficient and environmentally friendly technologies to curb global warming and also to provide reliable and cost effective electricity to its customers.”

Kenya, whose electric power demand is surging in sync with its economic growth, comes in at number nine worldwide in terms of geothermal power generation capacity. Its Olkaria IV power plant is currently the largest geothermal power plant in the world with a capacity of 140MW.

KenGen is focusing on building new geothermal power plants and expanding the output of existing facilities.