GDC and IPPs urged to solve technical issues on geothermal development in Menengai

Geothermal well at Menengai, Kenya (source: flickr/ ScientificDrilling)
Alexander Richter 21 Nov 2016

Kenya's Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and the three IPPs developing geothermal power plants at the geothermal field in Menengai, Kenya, are urged to resolve outstanding technical issues to bring these three plants online as soon as possible.

The Menengai geothermal development is still lagging behind its plans. With drilling started in 2011, so far now geothermal power plant has gone online.

Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is expected to contribute up to 810 MW in geothermal power generation capacity to the ambitious 5,000 MW development goal for Kenya.

With 460 MW planned to come from Menengai, 150 MW from the Suswa geothermal field and 200 MW from the Silale project in Baringo, things have not gone as planned so far for Menengai.

Now, a senior official at the Vision 2030 secretariat wants the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) to fast-track the process of generating steam power at the Menengai fields in Nakuru County, as reported by the Daily Nation.

With a successful tender for the construction of three private power plant projects of each 35 MW, it is currently unclear how these projects are progressing. While the government blames the independent power producers, who so far have not completed construction, the story seems to be more difficult than that.

With an expected revenue steam of Sh1.7 billion annually, there is still an expectations that the plants become operational in 201y.

“We were supposed to celebrate the inclusion of 105MW from [the] Menengai wells in the national grid last Christmas, but this has been delayed,” said Jonathan Lodompui, a director at the Kenya Vision 2030 secretariat. Mr Lodompui said the secretariat has advised GDC to sort out the pending technical issues and avoid further delays.

“We are going to extend more time to GDC to resolve the outstanding technical issues slowing down the generation of power at [the] Menengai wells and hopefully they will stick to the new timelines,” he added.

However, he did not indicate the time frame, only saying ,“We have discussed this issue internally with GDC management and we have advised them accordingly.”

Mr Lodompui said the ball is now in the court of Independent Power Producers to take up the challenge and turn the multibillion-shilling project into a thriving power-generation hub in the country.

Source: Daily Nation