KenGen enters final construction phase of Olkaria I AU power plant

In Summary

• Miano revealed that this was the first time a Fuji Turbine was being installed not only in Kenya but in Africa. 

• Fuji Electric which is the Turbine Manufacturer has deployed Technical Adviser who will oversee the whole installation process and ensure success. 

KenGen Olkaria 1 Additional Unit 6 Steam Turbine Installation.
KenGen Olkaria 1 Additional Unit 6 Steam Turbine Installation.
Image: KenGen

Kenya Electricity Generating Company has started installing a Steam Turbine into the Olkaria 1 AU 6 Power Plant, signaling a major breakthrough in the ongoing construction of the power plant.

This is a great achievement, given that the Steam Turbine is the heart of the power plant.

It is the component that is usually rotated to drive the generator that produces electricity.

KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano, said the installation of the turbine’s lower casing starts on Thursday.

“This is the largest single unit of turbine we will be installing in any of our power plants with a capacity of 83.3MW and with its installation we are now entering the final phase of construction of the power plant," Miano said.

She revealed that this was the first time a Fuji Turbine was being installed not only in Kenya but in Africa.

Fuji Electric which is the Turbine Manufacturer has deployed Technical Adviser who will oversee the whole installation process and ensure success.

The technical adviser will be assisted by a team of Engineers from both Fuji Electric and KenGen. The turbine installation and its auxiliaries will take approximately three months including dynamic balancing.

Miano added that this installation will run alongside other major installations such as Generator Step Up Transformer (GSUT),Auxiliary transformers, MV and LV Switchgears, Non Condensable Gas extraction system, Cooling water system, Air Compressor system, Heating and Ventilation system and Emergency Diesel Generator.

She said KenGen is happy with the progress of the project as it is on schedule despite challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With these activities running concurrently, it will ensure that the power plant’s commissioning is achieved in the last quarter of the year 2021,” she added.

In January this year, a team of 15 engineers and experts in heavy lifting successfully mounted a generator weighing 99 tonnes (99,000 kilograms) onto the power plant’s Steam Turbine in Olkaria, Naivasha.

Upon completion, the power plant will generate 83.3MW of electricity which will be injected into the national grid.

The generator which is worth Sh600 million was manufactured by Fuji Electric of Japan. It took five days to transport it from Mombasa to Olkaria with several stops along the way owing to its size.

Construction of Olkaria 1 AU 6 geothermal power plant started in December2018 following a ground-breaking ceremony which was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The construction of the additional power plant is aligned to the company’s long term strategy and the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) focused on sustainable supply of renewable energy in support of the Government Big Four Agenda.

Currently, KenGen supplies about 72 per cent of the electricity consumed in Kenya, with over 80 per cent of this coming from renewable sources.

The company has a total installed generation capacity of 1,818MW comprising hydro (826MW)geothermal (713MW) thermal (254MW) and wind (26MW).