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Kenya gets Sh23b for power plant

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The Japanese government has extended Sh23.45 billion to Kenya for the construction of the Olkaria I Unit four and five Geothermal Power Project.

The project is expected to produce 140 megawatts, an additional 10 percent to the national grid.

In a statement, Japanese ambassador to Kenya Shiego Iwatani said the project is expected to contribute to the provision of stable and affordable power supply to the country as the demand for electricity continues to rise.

Mr Iwatani pointed out that 50 percent of Kenya’s power is generated from hydropower stations, which were severely hampered in 2009.

A prolonged drought that plagued the country brought to the fore the need for the country to diversify its power generation mix. As such, the government has already started exploiting other green options such as wind and geothermal energy to stabilise power supply.

Although geothermal power production is capital intensive, it is touted as the power supply of the future with an estimated potential of 7,000 megawatts in the Rift Valley.

The government has in the past indicated that it intends to generate over 500 megawatt of geothermal energy by 2030.

The grant comes at a time when the Kenya Electricity Generation Company is seeking $920 million in international loans to build two geothermal power plants.

The assistance is based on the “Hatoyama Initiative” which supports developing countries taking measures to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

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“The introduction of geothermal power generation is therefore expected to remove these setbacks thereby ensuring a stable power supply that is affordable and environment friendly,” Mr Iwatani said.

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