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Jacobs wins Award of Excellence for work on Olkaria geothermal project in Kenya

Olkaria I Units 4 & 5 Geothermal Plant (source: KenGen)
Alexander Richter 25 Aug 2017

Engineering firm Jacobs has won a Gold Award of Excellence for its role on the 280 MW Olkaria I and IV geothermal power plant projects by KenGen in Kenya.

The New Zealand Association for Consulting and Engineering Professionals (ACENZ) just announced the winners of the 2017 ACENZ Innovate NZ Awards of Excellence in Taupo, new Zealand.

In a note on the attending of the awards, engineering firm Jacobs in New Zealand reported on leaving the events with three project awards, covering the transport and geothermal businesses.

In a statement on LinkedIn, Jacobs says the company is “extremely proud to be a part of the projects; their effort, innovation and excellence has been recognised in receiving these awards, a triumph against a very large number of high quality competing entries. The Olkaria Geothermal Project for Kenya Electricity Generating Co Ltd (KenGen) won a Gold Award of Excellence. The Auckland Light Rail (ALR) team were awarded an Award of Merit. The SH16 Causeway Alliance for NZTA was awarded an Award of Merit.”

KenGen chose Jacobs as Project Manager and Owners Engineer for the Olkaria I and IV 280 MW development following an international competitive bidding process in 2010.

The project entry:

“The Olkaria IV and Olkaria 1AU Geothermal Power Project was promoted and developed by the owner, Kenya Electricity Generating Co Ltd (KenGen) to provide relatively inexpensive sustainable and affordable electricity to the Kenyan grid. … The use of geothermal resources promised constant base load generation, unaffected by the weather, this being proven by the successful operation of the small Olkaria 1 plant (3 x 15MW commissioned in 1982), the later Olkaria II plant (3 x 35MW, last unit commissioned in 2010), and by the Independent Power Producer (IPP) owned Olkaria III binary plant first commissioned in 2002.

“We can now confirm that all the 280MW is running and stable on the grid. Indeed, we are very excited about this milestone. We not only see it as a score for KenGen, but also for Kenyans in general as it helps to further reduce the cost of power by displacing the expensive thermal fuel. At the same time, it will help to stabilise the country’s power supply by reducing dependence on hydro, which is prone to weather variations. We have had below average inflow of water into our hydro dams and the commissioning of this unit is nothing short of a Christmas and New Year gift to the country” – KenGen Press Release – KenGen MD & CEO, Albert Mugo. December 2014, 2015

The Olkaria I and IV 280MW geothermal project is one of the key projects under the Kenya Energy Expansion Project (KEEP) being implemented by the Government of Kenya through its agencies and financed by various Development Financial Institutions. KenGen appointed Jacobs as the Project Manager and Owners Engineer on 8 February 2010, following an International competitive bidding process. Later that year, funding for the Project was received from JICA, EIB, KfW, IDA (World Bank), and AFD; with additional financing from KenGen and the Government of Kenya. The Project was conceived as two separate power stations each with two 70MW steam turbine-generators. The geothermal steam-fields would be completely separate while the generating facilities would be linked by 220KV transmission lines and substations. The four contracts for the design and construction of the facilities were awarded between December 2011 and April 2012. Commissioning of the four generating units took place at various times through 2014, with the Taking Over Certificate for the last unit being issued on 1 January 2015.”

Source: Jacobs on LinkedInACENZ (finalists and awards overview), Jacobs project entry (pdf)