KenGen strikes 30MW geothermal well in Olkaria, Africa’s biggest

Olkaria OW-921 is one of the five biggest geothermal wells in the world

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has successfully drilled one of the biggest geothermal wells in the world, boosting Kenya’s quest to triple her power generation capacity to 5,000 megawatts.

The well, with a production capacity of 30 megawatts, is Africa’s biggest and is located in the geothermal-rich Olkaria area, roughly two hundreds kilometer north-west of Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Known as Olkaria OW-921, the well is 3,000 metres deep and took 46 days to complete.

KenGen CEO Albert Mugo says the well signifies the huge potential for geothermal power in Kenya.

“The new well which is among the biggest in the world firmly positions Kenya as a major geothermal power producer globally and helps to realize the Government’s goal of 5000 megawatts in the next thirty months,” Mugo told journalists at the well site on Thursday.

He added that KenGen planned to add at least 3,000 megawatts to its power generation fleet by 2018, a good chunk of which will be from renewable sources such as geothermal and wind.

“We expect to commission an additional 280 megawatts by September 2014 from geothermal to help meet Kenya’s growing demand for electricity as the country implements the Vision 2030 of becoming an industrial economy,” said the KenGen CEO.

The new well Olkaria OW-921, Mugo said, will be connected to Olkaria IV. He attributed the huge results to the company’s experience in geothermal exploration, improved technology and world-class expertise.

To accelerate its geothermal power production programme, KenGen has also resorted to mobile wellhead plants which are faster to deploy. One such mobile wellhead was installed in 2012 with a capacity of 5MW. Fourteen such wellheads are expected to be complete by 2015

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