Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Geothermal Development Director Abel Rotich told Xinhua in Nairobi that his organization has already secured funding to the tune of 300 million U.S. dollars for the construction of the power plant.
“The process to identify the contractor will begin in October and so we hope to finalize the tendering process to select the contractor soon so that the ground breaking ceremony for the 140 MW geothermal plant to begin before the end of the year,” Rotich said.
The power plant at Olkaria V, which is about 100 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, will take 18 months to complete.
KenGen currently is producing 540 MW of geothermal power while another independent power producer is producing another 140 MW.
The East African nation has an estimated potential of 7,000 MW of geothermal power along the Rift Valley region.
Rotich said that geothermal steam exploration is carried out by the government and then the steam is sold to power firms to convert it into electricity.
The director said that Kenya is prioritizing the exploitation of geothermal resource because it is a renewable source of energy.
“In addition, geothermal is a resource that is owned by Kenya and so it produces low cost electricity,” Rotich added. He revealed that geothermal will continue to be a significant source of electricity because it is not affected by climate change.
Other sources of power such as hydropower are susceptible to changes in the rainfall pattern. – Xinhua