Australian firm to set up green energy, fertiliser factory in Olkaria


Steam emitted from the geothermal well in Olkaria. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Australian firm, Fortescue Metals will this year start constructing a 300 Megawatts (MW) green ammonia plant that will also produce fertiliser, boosting Kenya’s shift to clean energy and cutting fertiliser imports.

The company on Thursday said plans are at an advanced stage for the multi-billion plant that will mark Kenya’s first green ammonia energy production.

The plant will upon completion boost Kenya’s growing production of clean energy to provide increased load during peak demand besides helping reduce Kenya’s fertiliser import bill and lower the cost of farming.

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“We will make a final investment decision so that we can start the project this year. The plant will provide power to the national grid during peak demand and also reduce the billions that flow out of the economy in paying for fertiliser imports,” said the company.

The firm did not however disclose the cost of the plant that will be built within the Olkaria Geothermal wells in Naivasha.

Kenya has been ramping up investments in clean energy notably geothermal, wind and solar in a bid to ensure the supply of cheaper power besides cutting pollution of the environment from fossil fuels.

Geothermal accounts for nearly a third of Kenya’s installed capacity at 953.7 megawatts (28.04 percent), followed by hydro at 25 percent.

Wind and solar account for 12.82 percent and 7.83 percent respectively as of December 2022.

The share of installed capacity from thermal sources dropped to 10.43 percent at the end of last year from 12.29 percent a year earlier, helping the country’s push to drop reliance on dirty fuels for electricity supply.

Kenya largely sources fertiliser from Russia and Ukraine but the imports have since last year become costlier at the back of the war that disrupted supplies and a weakening shilling.

Read: Small fertiliser factory takes on the big boys

Production of green fertiliser at the 300 MW plant will be key to cutting the costs that farmers incur in sourcing inputs.

Green fertilisers have lower carbon components than nitrate-based fertilisers because they are produced using clean energy.

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