Olkaria I geothermal power station closed for rehabilitation

Plant produces 45mw.

In Summary

-          Geothermal potential stands at 10,000mw

-          Plans by government to phase out thermal power by 2030

The Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha
Geothermal The Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha
Image: George Murage

The oldest geothermal power station in the country has been shut down to pave the way for its rehabilitation, with plans to change turbines and introduce new technology.

Under the two year programme by Kengen, Olkaria I power plant in Naivasha will see electricity production increase from the current 45MW to 63MW.

The electricity generating company said that works on the 140MW and 84MW Olkaria 6 and 7 plants in Naivasha were at an advanced stage.

According to Kengen geothermal development general manager Peketsa Mangi, Olkaria I power plant had already been shut down to pave the way for rehabilitation.

Mangi is optimistic that the power plant will come back bigger and stronger as the contractor moved in to replace the old turbines.

“The power plant was originally generating 45MW but we expect this to rise to 63MW when the rehabilitation exercise is done in a couple of years,” he said.

Speaking in Naivasha, the senior officer said that the deficit caused by the shutting down of the old power plant had been addressed by 86MW from Olkaria I (unit 6) plant.

“In a bid to address the issue of electricity security, the government shall be launching the Ethiopia-Kenya transmission line where we shall be getting an extra 200MW,” he said.

Mangi at the same time announced that works on the multi-million Geothermal Training Center in Naivasha will start in two weeks time.

The project that has been funded by the World Bank at a cost of $2.8 million (Sh385.4 million) will offer training in renewable energy and is expected to be ready by next year.

The center is expected to serve students from Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia .

“The center will specialise in geothermal, wind and solar,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Kengen acting CEO Abraham Serem said that the company was committed to phasing out phase thermal power which currently stands at 10 percent by 2030.

“We have launched the process of rehabilitating several power plants through the introduction of new technology with a view of increasing energy production,” he said.

Serem added that Kengen was seeking to rehabilitate its existing power plants, mainly those powered by geothermal, to make them more efficient for sustainable generation.

“The Board has approved a ten-year corporate strategy and we are ready to roll out having developed a robust implementation plan to lead us in the next frontier,” he said.

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