24 March 2010 – The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has said that consultants will review and update feasibility studies on the proposed power generation units released a year ago by the Ministry of Energy.
The company, which manages more than 60 tea factories for 500,000 small-holder tea farmers, is looking at the projects to cut its massive power bill and beat erratic supply by the national grid.
Of the 12 sites the ministry pinpointed to the KTDA, two have been taken up.
Imenti Tea Factory Company is already generating 1 megawatt through the Imenti mini-hydro project.
Last June, the factory signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to supply surplus power to the national grid.
The second project still under construction at Gura river in Nyeri is a four-factory partnership that will serve the KTDA factories at Gitugi, Iriani, Chinga and Gathuthi.
When completed, the 17.8MW project will supply power to the four factories and sell excess to the national grid.
Ministry of Energy estimates put the total capacity of all the projects at 22 megawatts of power once fully operational.
KTDA managing director Leorinka ole Tiampati said last year it cost Sh150 million to build a one-megawatt mini hydro-power project.
Three of the power projects are to be located in tea-growing regions west of the Rift Valley, while the other seven are in the East of the Rift Valley tea growing region.
Another possible project is likely to be on Itare river in Kapsabet, Bureti District.