THE construction of the Menengaï Geothermal Power Plant in Menengai, Nakuru County, Kenya has been completed according to the project financer, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group. The $108 million project has added 105MW of geothermal production capacity to the national electricity grid and brought up the national production of geothermal energy to 672 MW which makes the East African country Africa’s leading producer of geothermal energy.
For the implementation of the project, 50 wells were targeted to generate enough steam to produce more than 100MW. Some 49 wells had been drilled through the end of November last year, with a capacity of 169.9MW which exceeded the initially estimated capacity.
With the completion of this project, Kenya will be able to connect nearly 500,000 households, including 70,000 in rural areas of the country to the national grid and overcome severe electricity shortages caused by the variability of hydropower generation. At the same time, it will also reduce CO2 emissions by about 600,000 tonnes as of 2022.
Low-Cost Electricity Development Plan
In 2011, Kenya embarked on an ambitious path of renewable energy development with the adoption of the Low-Cost Electricity Development Plan for 2011-2031. This plan has been updated annually to increase power generation capacity from 1,227MW in 2010 to 3,751 MW in 2018.
The country’s Medium-Term Plan 2008-2012 and its successors, PMT-II (2013-2018) and PMT-III (2018-2022), all part of the Vision 2030 development plan, aim to increase the country’s electricity generation capacity to 5,521MW by the end of next year but one.
The PMT-III also aims to promote the development and use of renewable energy sources to create a reliable, good quality, and cost-effective electricity system to support industrial development.
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