Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has completed the construction of the 83MW Olkaria I, Additional Unit (AU) 6 Geothermal Power Plant, setting in motion activities to add it to the national power grid.
This milestone follows a successful delivery of full steam to the power plant, setting in motion technical processes to commercial operation which is expected by June 2022. This is a double win for Kenyans, firstly on climate action as geothermal is renewable and secondly on reliability and affordability considering that geothermal will predictably displace other more expensive sources of energy.
KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano, lauded the milestone as a big step forward in the country’s progress toward 100% utilization of renewable energy by the year 2030 which she also said will ensure a reliable supply of clean electricity to drive Kenya’s economic development.
She said, “The construction of Olkaria I Unit 6 is aligned to the company’s long-term strategy and Kenya’s Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) focused on sustainable supply of renewable energy in support of the Government’s Big Four Agenda.”
The plant which is expected to inject 83.3MW into the national grid is currently undergoing reliability tests to confirm its output. This is the final process signaling completion of construction period.
The initial steam admission, which is an integral part of verifying the performance of the turbine was conducted by the turbine manufacturer, Fuji Electric Global in conjunction with the project Contractor, Marubeni Corporation.
The tests come nearly nine months since the commencement of works to install the steam turbine at the new power plant. The turbine is now the largest single unit of turbine ever installed in any of KenGen’s geothermal power stations. This was also the first time a Fuji turbine was being installed not only in Kenya but in Africa.
Today, geothermal accounts for up to 39% of KenGen’s total installed generation capacity. With the additional 83MW, geothermal is expected to grow from the current 713MW to 796MW pushing up the share of KenGen’s geothermal installed capacity to about 42%.
Construction of Olkaria I, Additional Unit 6 geothermal power plant commenced in December 2018 following a groundbreaking ceremony which was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta.