KenGen Managing Director Eddy Njoroge remarked on Thursday that the company intend to fast track the implementation of the earmarked geothermal projects this year to ensure the availability of affordable and reliable power to Kenyans.
Key among the projects that they plan to complete within a short time is the 280 Megawatts (MW) Olkaria IV which is due for completion by April 2014.
“The 280MW project is going to be the fastest project built in this country. The first 45MW Olkaria I project took over 15 years to build. Olkaria II took over 17 years to build, but we are developing Olkaria IV in eight years,” he said.
Some 21 wells with adequate steam have been drilled and are ready to support the plant whose construction is due to commence this month.
The project, which upon completion will see a 30 percent reduction in customers’ power bills, involves various activities such as construction of transmission lines, upgrading of power sub stations and steam development all of which is estimated to cost Sh87 billion ($1 billion).
Generally, the nature of the projects that the government is undertaking as it seeks to exploit the massive geothermal potential in the country, require staggering amounts funds.
For this reason, KenGen, which is spearheading most of the projects, has had to float tenders as it seeks providers of the various services. This task has however put the company on a collision course with many parties that feel that KenGen is not following procurement laws to the letter.
One of those parties is a local publication, the Nairobi Law Monthly that claims that there were irregularities in the award of tenders amounting to Sh8 billion to a Japanese and South Korean firms, allegations that KenGen vehemently denies.
Njoroge who spoke at a press conference where he defended himself and the firm’s board, maintained that they have never broken the procurement laws and will continue to play by the book.
“You must do it (tendering) within the law and what we did was within the laid down procedures. We have no intentions of breaking any laws,” he emphasised.
Such claims he added, would not deter them from soldering on to ensure the provision of competitively priced power that will meet the rising demand estimated at 12 percent per year.