, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has connected the Olkaria I unit 5 to the national grid, paving the way for the completion of the 280 Megawatt geothermal power project.
The unit, still being tested, is now feeding 52.5MW of electricity to the national grid and marks the final phase in what is seen as a major step toward significantly lowering the cost of electricity in East Africa’s largest economy.
“On Monday we achieved a major milestone on the 280MW project when unit 5 was synchronized with the national grid. This is the last of the four 70 MW units in the 280 MW geothermal project,” KenGen CEO Albert Mugo said.
He added that final tests were ongoing to ensure system stability.
In essence, it means that we are now close to the full 280 MW even as we continue with load tests for unit 5,” Mugo said.
The Olkaria 280MW project, the largest of its kind in the world, comprises the 140 MW Olkaria IV and the Olkaria I units 4 and 5, each with a capacity of 70 MW.
The official commissioning of the final phase of the 280MW geothermal power project is expected next month.
Kenya is banking on geothermal energy to provide reliable and affordable energy, critical to lowering the cost of living and doing business.
Geothermal energy is being used to replace the expensive diesel-generated power as the country accelerates infrastructure expansion including a new railway and port.
Last month, President Kenyatta commissioned the 140MW Olkaria IV power plant announcing the reduction of electricity bills for Kenyans once fully connected to the national grid.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir last week said power bills were already coming down as a result of the additional energy in the national grid.