3 August 2012 – Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports that the country’s president Mwai Kibaki is to have overseen a groundbreaking ceremony at the Olkaria IV geothermal project, which will have a capacity of 280 MW when completed.
The Olkaria IV project is co-financed by the government of Kenya through Kengen and various development partners including the German development bank KFW, the World Bank, JICA, the French development agency, and the European investment bank. Groups involved in the project include KEC of India, Toyota Tshusho of Japan, Hyundai, and Sinclair Knight Mertz of New Zealand.
The existing Olkaria I and II plants have a capacity of some 115 MW and the new Olkaria IV facility, which will cost an estimated US$1.3 billion, will encompass two plants each having two units that can generate 140 MW.
Steam wells for the project have been successfully drilled with wellhead generators expected to be installed and produce power as plant construction continues. Field optimisation studies concluded recently have further raised hopes in the area after confirming availability of more steam able to generate a further 560 MW of electricity.
Olkaria IV is expected to increase the role of geothermal power in Kenya’s energy mix to 35% from the current 10%. The project will complement other efforts by the Kenya’s geothermal development corporation which is selling steam to independent power producers and has a target of 20 drilled steam wells with a potential to generate 400 MW at the Menengai block by 2014.