What you need to know:
- The power producers will finance, design, construct, install, operate and maintain the plants.
- Drilling at Menengai fields started in February 2011.
- The state corporation is also exploring the prospect of developing an initial 150MW at the Suswa field.
- The site has an estimated potential of 750MW when fully developed.
The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) projects to generate Sh1.7 billion from sale of steam from its Menengai geothermal fields in Nakuru County.
According to GDC Corporate Communications Manager Ruth Musembi, the field is now ripe for electricity production, after three independent power producers were licensed to build power plants.
Each plant has a capacity to produce 35 megawatts of power.
The power plants are expected to be operational in 2017 when the sale of steam is expected to kick off in earnest.
Quantam Power East Africa, OrPower 22 which is a consortium of Ormat, Civicon and Symbion and Sosian Energy have been contracted to construct the power plants.
According to the agreement, the power producers will finance, design, construct, install, operate and maintain the plants.
Besides GDC, the power producers have also signed a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power who will also buy the generated power to inject in the national grid.
DRILLING STARTED IN 2011
Drilling at Menengai fields started in February 2011.
The new development is expected to result in a lower cost of power.
“The three power producers have been allocated space at Menengai fields where they will construct the power plants,” said Ms Musembi.
“All the paperwork is complete and GDC has already signed a project implementation and steam supply agreement with the power producers,” she stated.
Ms Musembi said that by 2018, Menengai fields are expected to generate at least 105 MW under phase one of the multibillion project.
Apart from Menengai, Ms Musembi revealed that plans were at an advanced stage to launch the Baringo-Silale project where phase one is targeted to generate 200 MW of power.
“The drilling of the fields is expected to commence early 2017 and GDC has already acquired an environmental and social impact assessment license allowing the exploitation of the massive resources,” she said.
The first phase is funded by the government and development partners who have provided a loan of Sh8 billion.
GDC says a 70km access road has been completed while water supply and drilling services contracts have been awarded.
The state corporation is also exploring the prospect of developing an initial 150MW at the Suswa field.
The site has an estimated potential of 750MW when fully developed.
“We have already completed the scientific studies and infrastructural designs and GDC is awaiting a go ahead from the government to commence drilling activities at Suswa,” said Ms Musembi.