Home Clean energy KenGen opens new 83 megawatt plant at Olkaria

KenGen opens new 83 megawatt plant at Olkaria

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Aerial view of the Olkaria I AU 6.
Aerial view of the Olkaria I AU 6.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has added 83 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, boosting the government’s efforts to provide affordable power to consumers.

KenGen chief executive Rebecca Miano said that the plant was commissioned last week, pushing the State-owned power producer’s share of installed geothermal capacity to 42 percent.

The government is banking on increased power supply from KenGen whose charges are lower than those of independent power producers.

“Olkaria 1 Unit 6 which is 83 megawatts last week marked the successful commissioning of that plant and it is now injecting power into the grid,” Ms Miano said on the sidelines of the inaugural sustainable energy conference in Olkaria.

The conference has drawn participants from the government, energy sector, and financial institutions and is aimed at coming up with measures of addressing challenges that hamper scale-up in the generation and use of clean energy.

Construction of the plant started in December 2018 as Kenya embarked on generating affordable and clean power to spur economic growth.

The plant will increase the share of geothermal energy that Kenya Power sells to consumers from the current 37.3 percent.

Wind and solar energy account for 16 and one percent, bringing to 54.3 percent the share of clean energy in the national grid.

Power from hydro sources accounts for 30 percent while diesel-powered thermal plants provide 10 percent.

Kenya Power bought 46 percent or Sh41.1 billion of its electricity from State-controlled KenGen, with other top producers being Lake Turkana Wind and US-based geothermal firm, OrPower 4 Inc.

A kilowatt-hour (kWh) of geothermal goes for an average of Sh6.7 while a similar unit of thermal power costs Sh30.8 on average, highlighting the anticipated impact of the increased share of geothermal electricity on the national grid.

15pc tariff cut

Commissioning of the plant comes at a time the government is pushing to implement a 15 percent cut on power tariffs, following a similar reduction that was gazetted in January.

The first cut in power tariffs was hinged on reducing system losses by Kenya Power but the second cut is pegged on a review of power purchase agreements between the power utility and power producers including KenGen.