EU gives Sh6b for rehabilitation of Olkaria geothermal power plants

European Investment Bank (EIB) vice-president Thomas Ostros (centre) with KenGen staff during a tour of Olkaria geothermal power plants in Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The European Union (EU) has committed Sh6 billion towards rehabilitating Olkaria I and IV power plants in Naivasha.

The move will enhance the government's target of increasing the use of renewable energy in the country by an extra 40 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power into the national grid.

The initiative comes at a time when the drought has adversely affected hydro-power production.

Recently, the State announced plans to get an extra 200MW of electricity from Ethiopia to address the rising demand. According to the Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir, the country was keen to phase out fossil sources of energy by 2030, with clean energy such as geothermal, solar and wind being the alternatives.

He said in the last ten years, electricity generation in the country had risen from 1,600MW to 3,300MW with 90 per cent being renewable energy. “We have received Sh6 billion from the European Union  (EU) towards rehabilitating the Olkaria 1 and 4 power plants which will see the country get an extra 40MW,” he said.

Chirchir said this at Sawela Lodge in Naivasha during the Energy Sector Induction programme for the Integrated National Energy Planning (INEP).

He said that under the joint programme with the counties, the State was keen to make ensure Kenyans accessed clean cooking energy by 2028.

The CS noted that this would be achieved by universal electrification, adding that currently, over 75 per cent of homes in the country were connected to electricity.

To achieve a 100 per cent connection, he challenged MPs to set aside funds through CDF and Governors through the revenue allocation to complement what the government was doing. “The national government through the help of development partners is keen to come up with mini-solar, wind and hydro-plants at county levels,” he said.

During the meeting, he said that the government had come up with two special economic zones in Naivasha where investors would get subsidised electricity directly from KenGen.

Principal Secretary in the Energy Ministry Alex Wachira, lauded the formulation of the Integrated National Energy Planning, noting that it would help families access clean and affordable cooking energy. “The ministry is keen to work with counties in making sure that the envisaged plan for clean cooking energy is achieved by 2028,” he said.

Others who spoke were Nyandarua CEC for Public Works Stephen Mburu, who said counties would work closely with the Ministry to ensure homes are connected to electricity.

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