Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has announced plans to scale up the deployment of renewable energy in the country by adding an additional 3000MW. This new campaign will be driven largely by deploying up to 2000MW drawn from geothermal and hydro sources as baseload power to stabilize the country’s energy sources by diversifying away from expensive thermal sources.
At the same time, KenGen, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), says it has put in place plans to optimize the existing hydro sources even as it pushes for the development of new hydropower stations, and expansion of existing ones, particularly within the Tana River basin.
Speaking at KenGen’s Stima Plaza Headquarters in Nairobi, Ag. Managing Director and CEO, Abraham Serem, said the company had rolled out a 10-year strategy that seeks to add 3,000MW. He added that the company will be seeking to rehabilitate its existing power plants to make them more efficient for sustainable generation.
“The Board approved a ten-year corporate strategy last year and we are now ready to roll it out in this new year 2023 having developed a robust implementation plan to lead us in the next frontier of our business growth,” said Mr Serem.
Mr Serem added that KenGen would be looking to tap into the vast potential of geothermal energy in the Rift Valley region, which is estimated to be about 10,000MW of clean and renewable energy.
“So far we have only exploited about 0.9GW of the 10GW geothermal potential and that is why a huge chunk of the additional capacity will be drawn from geothermal,” said Mr. Serem. “Our focus going forward is to secure the baseload capacity to stabilize Kenya’s energy supply mainly from green renewable energy.”
Mr Serem singled out the upcoming 305 MW geothermal projects, with 280 MW coming from Olkaria and 25 MW from the Eburru geothermal power plant, for which construction would commence immediately after getting the requisite approvals.
In addition, the NSE-listed company plans to leverage on new technology to rehabilitate its oldest geothermal power plant, the 45MW Olkaria I, to give it a new lease of life and increase its generation capacity to more than 60MW.
“We will also be rolling out plans to up-rate the turbines for the Olkaria I additional units 4 and 5 and Olkaria IV power plants to increase their output by an additional 40MW,” said Mr. Serem, who said this is part of the wider plan to stabilize Kenya’s energy supply and catalyze the country’s economic growth.
On the Western side of the Country, KenGen has announced plans to rehabilitate its Gogo hydropower plant to increase its capacity by about 8MW from the current 2MW. This is expected to contribute to the stability of the power supply in the western region.
“Going forward, we will be seeking to enlist new drilling fields for geothermal after successful drilling expeditions in the existing fields,” said Mr. Serem adding, “The acquisition of new fields will be one of the major initiatives for us in the new year as we seek to take advantage of the 10GW geothermal potential in the country.”
At the same time, KenGen says it will continue with its commercial drilling projects in the Horn of Africa in Ethiopia and Djibouti where the company has drilled several geothermal wells with the latest being the first of three wells successfully completed in November 2022 at Gale le Koma geothermal site in Djibouti.
“We are happy to see our teams deliver the same level of success in other countries as we do here at home in Olkaria where we have also drilled more than 320 geothermal wells to depths of 3,000 meters,” said Mr. Serem adding, ‘In geothermal drilling, successful drilling of the first well is a major milestone as it gives the engineers and scientists more insights of the terrain to inform the drilling of the successive wells.”