KenGen strikes 375MW from new geothermal wells

A geothermal well in Nakuru. PHOTO | FILE
A geothermal well at the Menengai Crater in Nakuru. PHOTO | FILE 

Electricity generating company KenGen is set to boost its geothermal output following the discovery of steam wells that can generate up to 375 megawatts at its Olkaria fields.

The wells will be used to develop three power plants with total capacity of 350MW.

KenGen said it would continue to drill wells to supply steam for an additional 70MW unit at the recently commissioned Olkaria I unit four and five plants.

“The available steam is 374.7MW. This is for Olkaria 1 Unit 6, a single unit of 70MW to be constructed at Olkaria 1. Available steam for this plant is 84MW,” said KenGen’s director for geothermal development, Abel Rotich.

Other projects are the 140MW Olkaria V and Olkaria VI plants, which the company plans to develop in the next two to four years. The 140MW Olkaria V, KenGen’s next project, is set to kick off before the end of the year.

“Olkaria V Power Plant is a 140MW Project. Steam available for this plant is 166.4 MW while the other 140MW Olkaria VI plant has 124.3 MW of available steam.”

KenGen has already hired consultants for the project and is in the process of selecting contractors.

Negotiations for funding are progressing well with development partners, said the State-owned firm.

The drilling programme is nearing completion and its aim was to supply steam for over 400MW that is planned for development in the next two to four years.

“Testing of other wells is in progress. We are also drilling more wells which shall cover our requirements going forward,” he said.

The remaining steam will be used at the wellheads programme to ensure that the steam available is converted to electricity, pending construction of the power plants. This far, the wellhead generation units are providing a total of 45MW of electricity.

KenGen said three wells-pad 921 have been tested and proven to give a total output of 32.7 MW.