Works in new geothermal plant set to begin
Published on: February 03, 2017 10:05 (EAT)
The government expects to have an extra 260mw in 24 months as works in the long awaited Olkaria V power plant in Naivasha kick off. The multi-billion geothermal project, which will be launched next month, is also expected to further bring down the cost of electricity. According to Kengen, 160mw will come from Olkaria V plant while the rest will be generated from the extension of Olkaria l. Already, geothermal accounts for 50 per cent of electricity generated in the country with projections that this could rise in two years. This emerged when KenGen launched the two projects’ Stakeholders Coordination Committee (SCC) in Olkaria Naivasha. The mandate of the committee is to act as the liaison between the power generating company and various communities living around the geothermal rich area. According to KenGen Managing Director Albert Mugo, the 260mw project was part of the government vision 2030 to see the country turn to the reliable geothermal energy. “Works on the two projects will take 24-27 months and once complete we expect the cost of electricity to come down even further,” he said. He said that plans for the industrial park around Olkaria were at an advanced stage, adding that tens of investors were keen on the project. “The Standard Gauge Railway will also wind up here and we have enough power and steam to supply to interested investors,” he said. Mugo denied that KenGen had not supported area communities, adding that in all the past projects the company had met with all stakeholders. On his part, KenGen Chairman Joshua Chumo said that over 700 people would be employed directly when works on the two power plants kicked off. Naivasha MP John Kihagi welcomed the projects and the formation of the stakeholders committee to oversee and work with KenGen. Earlier, there was a moment of anxiety outside the venue of the meeting after a group people from the Maasai community held a demonstration to protest the launch claiming they have been sidelined in the exercise and threatening to block the project. “We are not part and parcel of this exercise and we do not recognize the newly elected committee which was handpicked by some politicians,” said Mose Kiraison, a member of the community.