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KenGen starts drilling geothermal wells in Gilgil

A section of Olkaria power plant in Naivasha. [ Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The push by the government for cleaner and green energy has received a major boost with Kenya Electricity Generating (KenGen) company exploring more geothermal power in Eburru area in Gilgil constituency.

Under the project, the power generating company is targeting an extra 25mw from the geothermal rich area.

The move comes two weeks after the company announced that it would, in the coming month, pump an extra 86mw into the national grid.

Works at the Olkaria 1 (unit 6) power plant in Naivasha are nearly complete, ready for commission as the government gears to phase out the expensive thermal power.

Peketsa Mangi, KenGen acting geothermal development director said Eburru had a high potential for geothermal power. He said that studies were going on adding that already KenGen had a well-head in Eburru that was currently producing 2.4mw.

“Our engineers are on the ground conducting feasibility studies with plans to tap an extra 25mw into the national grid before the end of the year,” he said.

Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant, Naivasha. October 31, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Speaking in Olkaria, Mangi noted that currently, KenGen installed capacity from geothermal power stood at over 700mw with plans to increase this in the coming month.

“The Olkaria 1 unit six is nearly complete and this will see another 86mw pumped into the national grid by next month as we move towards increasing green energy,” he said.

He noted that KenGen was committed to increasing geothermal power and pointed to the mega 280mw power plant in Olkaria, which is the biggest on the continent.

Earlier, senior managers from the European Investment Bank (EIB) which has supported geothermal exploration in Naivasha paid a courtesy call to KenGen offices.

In a statement, the Director of Finance in KenGen, Dr John Mundany, noted that Covid-19 had affected several ongoing projects in Olkaria.

“Construction works are ongoing but the project has been affected by the onset of the pandemic which saw the site closed for two weeks following infection of some personnel,” he said.