President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils a plaque to officially commission the ground breaking for 158MW Olkaria V geothermal power plant at OlKaria in Naivasha on April 28, 2017. He called for more investments in the energy sector.
President Uhuru Kenyatta officially broke ground for the construction of Olkaria V geothermal power plant expected to add 158MW of electricity to the national grid. The President also commissioned 14 wellhead units generating a total of 75MW of electricity, during the groundbreaking ceremony in Naivasha.
The wellhead unit is a unique technology developed by Kenyan engineers to harness geothermal power, which has reduced the duration between the first drilling of a well and installation of a geothermal plant from five years to two years.
Funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to a tune of Sh40 billion, the project will involve the construction of two geothermal power units of 79MW each. The 158 megawatts that this project will bring once it begins operations in 2019, represents a significant addition in the form of base load power.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, President Kenyatta said that the commissioning of the power projects is set to see more Kenyan households access electricity thus contribute to Kenya’s prosperity. “In commissioning these wells, and in breaking ground for the new project, we take a mighty step on the road to prosperity for this nation,” said the President.
He said Kenya has one of the largest reserves of geothermal energy and is ranked among the top green energy producers and therefore more plants will be constructed to harness the power for the benefit of Kenyans.
“That this form of energy is not subject to the vagaries of the weather and that it runs at a respectable rate more than 90% of the time of the year, means that we can bring reliable power to every Kenyan home,” said the President.
President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed his concern on the over-reliance of hydro and thermal power in the country terming it as too expensive. And with prolonged drought, which has seen water levels in various dams drop sharply, he termed the situation as serious and worrying. The President said his government will do more to enhance geothermal power capacity.
CS keter said that the expected additional electricity supply would translate to cheaper power for industrial applications for as low as 3cents/kWh. “We are working to ensure the 7cents/kWh is lowered to 3cents/kWh,” said CS Keter.
He mentions the excellent leadership of the President, that he has shown total commitment to maintain and increase Kenya’s global leadership in green energy production and consumption.
“The Jubilee Government has a clear vision to provide sufficient, cheap, green and reliable energy for Kenya. We expected the peak load to grow to about 15,000MW by 2030 and that demand will be met by raising the installed capacity gradually to 19,200MW by 2030.” Said President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The President challenges other Kenyan institutions to adopt the innovative approach of KenGen to transform the country. He also took the time to encourage private investors to take advantage of the immense opportunities available in geothermal generation just as that of Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, which will add 310MW to the national grid.
By: Faith Kosgei