Chinese firm wins KenGen’s geothermal plant upgrade job


An aerial view of the Olkaria I Additional Unit 6 (Olkaria I AU6) geothermal power stations in Naivasha, Nakuru County. PHOTO | PSCU

Chinese firm SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Co. Ltd has won a multi-billion-shilling job to upgrade Kenya’s oldest geothermal power plant.

Kenya’s top power producer, KenGen has awarded the firm the tender to upgrade the output of the 45 megawatt (MW) Olkaria I geothermal power plant to 63MW.

SEPCOIII will be the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contractors (EPC), while Japanese firm Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS) has been awarded the contract to supply steam turbines and generators for the three units of the power plant.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company, however, did not disclose the value of the contracts awarded to the two firms.

“By leveraging the latest advancements in geothermal technology, we aim to not only enhance the performance of the plant but also set new standards for renewable energy production in Kenya,” said KenGen managing director Peter Njenga.

Olkaria I was the first geothermal power plant to be built in Kenya with its first production unit installed in 1981.

It is one of the several plants owned by KenGen with an installed capacity totaling 801MW.

Others are Olkaria I AU Units 4 & 5, Olkaria I AU Unit 6, OLkaria II, Olkaria IV, Olkaria V, Eburru, and several wellhead units.

Modernisation of the project is scheduled for completion by December 2026.

The project is part of KenGen’s wider plans to expand the capacity of its existing plants. Besides the Olkaria I rehabilitation, the power generator also plans to upgrade Olkaria IV and Olkaria I Unit IV and V as well as the Gogo hydropower plants.

KenGen said the upgrade of Olkaria I will increase electricity generation output by up to 40 percent.

KenGen recorded a profit after tax of Sh5.2 billion in the financial year to June 2023, a growth of 48 percent from Sh3.38 billion in the previous year.

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