One of Kenya’s
existing geothermal
power plants
Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 27 January 2012 – Plans to set up a 400 megawatt (MW) geothermal power generating station in Kenya have received a boost, following the approval of its funding by the African Development Bank (AfBD).

In an interview here with the Daily Nation, AfDB regional director Gabriel Negatu confirmed that at the end of last year, the board had approved a US$120 million loan to fund the project. The funds are expected to be released by March this year.

“Funding for the Menengai project has already been approved by the board and we expect to see a lot of activity around March this year,” said Mr Negatu.

The project is also being financed by the government of Kenya, AfDB and other development partners to the tune of almost US$800 million.

Meanwhile, the State-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) charged with exploration of geothermal power, says work has began on the first phase of the project, which will involve setting up of four power generating plants, each with an output of 100MW.

“Drilling in Menengai is ongoing with two rigs owned by GDC purchased through funding from the Government of Kenya. AfDB funding will, therefore, boost the 400MW project. GDC will purchase 2 rigs, drilling materials and one modular power plant with the AfDB funds,” read a statement from GDC.

The European Investment Bank has contributed USD$36 million, Climate Investment Bank US$40 million, French Development Agency (AFD) almost US$100 million, and the World Bank nearly US$10 million.

“With funding from government, the committed funds from donors as well as pledges, GDC can confidently say that we have all the funds we need to develop the Menengai phase one 400MW project,” the statement added.

Kenya has an estimated geothermal power potential of between 7,000MW and 10,000 MW, but only 200MW has been exploited despite an annual increase in power demand of about 8%.

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