News

Kenya receives US$310million from World Bank for geothermal

KenGen Olkaria II plant, Kenya (source: constructionkenya.com)
Alexander Richter 10 Jul 2010

"Kenya Electricity Expansion Project has received Sh26.4 billion (US$ 310million) from the World Bank to increase geothermal power generation, enhance connectivity, and refurbish power plants to enhance efficiency."

“Kenya Electricity Expansion Project has received Sh26.4 billion (US$ 310million) from the World Bank to increase geothermal power generation, enhance connectivity, and refurbish power plants to enhance efficiency.”, so Kenyan news.

The drive to shift the country’s power base from the weather-dependent hydro source to geothermal has gained momentum as the World Bank, through the International Development Association (IDA), has provided Sh9.6 billion (US$112million) for the development of Olkaria geothermal sources.

The credit line is to be used to scale up geothermal power generation to 280 megawatts from the current 198.

“This credit line will be used to support geothermal generation that include extension of the Olkaria I and construction of Olkaria IV scaling up electricity generation from more reliable sources,” said Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

The other two credit lines are Sh5.2 billion (US$61million) for construction of transmission lines and Sh2.7 billion (US$32million) for enhancing the rural electrification programme.

“The project is intended at strengthening and extending the distribution grid across the country through construction of an estimated 1,300 kilometres of distribution lines to enhance connection and the refurbishment of about 26 substations to improve reliability,” said Johannes Zutt, the world Bank country director.

In addition, the Electricity Expansion Project will see the construction of three new transmission lines to improve reliability.

The lines target to connect the expansive North Eastern region to the national grid, improve power reliability in Western Kenya, and Nyanza.

The project funds will be used to create a revolving kitty which will allow power connection through the rural electrification programme and payment by customers through instalments.

The fund is expected to enhance Kenya Power and Lightning Company’s (KPLC) connection rate, enabling it to meet its annual target of 200,000 new connections.

Mr Zutt said the focus on geothermal is to enhance the country’s power supply from a more viable source.

Dependency on hydro power, which is determined by weather patterns, has affected the country’s economy especially through high power charges due to the use of emergency power from diesel based generators when rain fails.

The country is emerging from a prolonged drought that affected its power supply, leading to power rationing.

The use of emergency power generators resulted in inflated power bills, eating into households’ incomes.
The Kenya Electricity Expansion Project intends to spend Sh112 billion to shift the country power base to geothermal.

Other partners who have pumped funds into the programme include China, KFW of Germany and the European Investment Bank.”

Source: Africa Business Daily