Construction of Mauritian firm Quantum Power East Africa’s 35-megawatts Menengai geothermal power plant has received a major boost after signing of a financing deal with African Development Bank.
The lender will provide Sh4.03 billion ($40m) to Quantum Power, one of the three Independent Power Providers contracted by the Geothermal Development Company to build the 105-MW Menengai Geothermal power plant.
Quantum becomes the first IPP to start developing its plant at a cost of Sh8.2 billion.
Construction is set to begin next month with projected completion in 18 months.
Commencement of the project has delayed since 2014 over lack of funding.
“I look forward to the IPPs actually starting so that we can begin to see a lot of changes in the lives of the people around,” AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina said when he toured the plant on Saturday.
AfDB also provided $120 million for the project purchase of three drilling rigs, drilling materials and capacity building.
Adesina who was accompanied by Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich and his Energy counterpart, Charles Keter also lauded the government for ensuring Kenyan personnel develop the plant, which is the biggest geothermal project in Africa.
American-Ormat Technologies and local company, Sosian Energy, the other contracted IPPs, are yet to sign closures with financial partners four years since the government awarded them rights in the under the public-private partnership model.
The government has also issued letters of support to Quantum Power East Africa and Sosian Energy, paving the way for them to start constructing their plants. The three IPPs will each develop 35-MW plants that will see Menengai Geothermal project generate 105-MW of clean energy upon completion of the first phase.
Sosian Energy recently signed a pact with Korea Western Power for a 25-year Operations and Maintenance (O&M) program for its 35 MW geothermal plant.
Development of the evacuation line has also been completed by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited, ensuring that power will be transmitted immediately upon generation. Geothermal Development Company is also finalising on the 25-kilometre Steam Gathering System that will channel the steam to the power plants for the generation of electricity.