Kenya: KenGen awards contract to upgrade oldest geothermal power plant in the Olkaria region

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Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has awarded a multibillion contract for the rehabilitation of Kenya’s oldest geothermal power plant, aiming to increase its output from 45MW to 63MW in a move to accelerate the country’s transition to green energy.

The NSE-listed electricity generator said the strategic initiative is poised to elevate the power plant’s operational efficiency and increase electricity generation output by up to 40% compared to existing conventional models, whose first unit was commissioned in 1981 and has since been decommissioned.

Source: KenGen

In the tender, SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Co., Ltd will be the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contractors (EPC), whereas Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS) has been awarded the contract to supply steam turbines and generators for the three units of the power plant.

KenGen’s Managing Director and CEO, Eng. Peter Njenga states, “The renovation of Olkaria I represents a historic milestone for KenGen as we continue our commitment to sustainable energy solutions. By leveraging the latest advancements in geothermal technology, we aim to not only enhance the performance of the plant but also set new standards for renewable energy production in Kenya.”

The project, scheduled for completion by December 2026, is designed to align with Kenya’s broader energy objectives and the Vision 2030 initiative, which envisions a transition to 100% green energy by the end of the decade.

“As the oldest geothermal power plant in Africa, Olkaria I holds significant historical importance and stands as a testament to Kenya’s pioneering efforts in renewable energy production and, therefore, the excitement for us to have this power plant back on the grid,” said Eng. Njenga.

The KenGen CEO says: “Having operated for more than 40 years, this confirms the sustainability of geothermal coupled with the skills set and human resource capabilities that KenGen has developed over the years, we are confident the project will be completed on time and within budget.”

Through this renovation, KenGen aims to not only extend the operational lifespan of Olkaria I but also establish a model for sustainable energy development that can be replicated across the region as Kenya angles to exploit the 10,000MW of geothermal potential in the Rift Valey region of Kenya.

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