KenGen to ramp up geothermal output with plants' upgrade

By Macharia Kamau | Jan 13, 2023
Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

KenGen is embarking on the rehabilitation of several of its geothermal power plants in a process that is expected to increase the electricity generating capacity of its plants in the Olkaria fields by 20 per cent.

The firm's fleet of geothermal power plants has an installed capacity of 799 megawatts (MW), which the firm now plans to increase to 1,000MW in the coming years by revamping the old power plants.

Additionally, the firm plans to build the 140MW Olkaria VI power plant, which will further increase power production from geothermal.

KenGen has started looking for a firm to undertake feasibility studies on the possibility of increasing the capacity of the Olkaria II power plant by 140MW, through the Olkaria II Extension power plant.

The 20-year-old Olkaria II has an electricity generating capacity of 70MW.

"Studies estimate that there is still considerable geothermal potential in Olkaria, hence KenGen plans to install additional generation capacity (on some of the existing power plants). Completion of these power plants will bring the total installed geothermal capacity in the Greater Olkaria zone close to 1,000MW," said the firm in documents requesting proposals from companies wishing to undertake the feasibility study for Olkaria II Extension.

"As part of the Company's strategy and in line with the national electricity master plans, KenGen intends to develop Olkaria II Extension Geothermal Power Plant in Olkaria field. The estimated equivalent output of the steam available for Olkaria II Extension is 140MW."

Additionally, the firm plans to rehabilitate Olkaria I, the country's oldest geothermal plant, which is expected to increase the life of the plant as well as increase its power production capacity by 6MW.

It is also looking to upgrade Olkaria IV and I AU (Additional Unit) by 40MW besides constructing the new Olkaria VII geothermal power plant, which is expected to have an installed capacity of 140MW.

This would push the company's geothermal power production capacity to 1,140MW.

The firm has this month said it plans to increase its power generating capacity by 3,000MW over the next 10 years. This would more than double its current electricity production capacity, which at the moment stands at 1,904MW.

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