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Kenya joins top 10 geothermal producers

KAGAME-UHURU-OLKARIANAIVASHA, Kenya, Feb 20 – Kenya is now the 7th highest producer of geothermal power as it unveiled the biggest geothermal plant in the world which added an extra 280MW to the national grid.

Immediately after commissioning by Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Uhuru Kenyatta in Naivasha, the government announced that it would further reduce the cost of power for industries and households.

The cost of power has been reducing drastically since October 2014, when President Kenyatta commissioned the first 140MW plant.

The Olkaria 1 Geothermal plant added an extra 140MW Thursday, in a move that moves the country to the top producers of clean energy.

With the additional power, Kenya increased its chances to host the global geothermal summit in 2020.

Kenya has since submitted a bid to host the international conference and is competing with United States and Japan, among others.

This is another milestone in the Jubilee Government’s journey to deliver an additional 5,000 megawatts in five years.

The implementation of the 280MW geothermal project in Olkaria is a giant step in powering the nation, reducing the use of fuel in production of electricity and thus making it cheaper.

As a result, the cost of a kilowatt of electricity has dropped from Sh7.22 last August to Sh2.51 this month.

Speaking at the occasion, President Kenyatta termed the inauguration a ”historic promise for the people of Kenya and East Africa.”

“This commissioning ceremony is the culmination of immense exemplary effort, colossal investment and admirable collaboration by many partners,” he said.

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The President said geothermal generation is powering the region’s transformation story.

He said the transformational agenda is aimed at growing the East African countries economies fast enough to generate prosperity for its people.

He said this requires a commitment to invest in projects that enable our people and their enterprises to work better, produce more and compete well.

“It also requires us to dedicate our leadership to attract investment and capital into our domestic and regional economies,” he added.

President Kenyatta pointed out that regional leaders have realised that the transformation agenda could be accomplished both at country and regional levels.

It is for this reason, he said, that the leaders had jointly embarked on ambitious and visionary infrastructural projects to accelerate regional integration, catalyse economic growth to make their countries the most compelling investment destinations globally.

“Ever since the endorsement of this joint resolve, East African leadership has demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and inspiration,” he added.

The Head of State said Kenya is now among global leaders in the investment and scale of development in unlocking the geothermal promise.

“We are also global pioneers in deploying the cost-saving well-head technology to ensure that our investment goes farther. Energy costs contribute significantly to the cost of producing goods and services,” he said.

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He said the government is committed to reducing the cost of energy and production to accelerate development. He said the generation of 280MW has reduced the cost of electricity by 30 per cent.

He called on all producers to pass the benefits of cheaper power to consumers.

President Kenyatta disclosed that the benefits of increased power production have been felt in all parts of the country. More importantly, he said 17,551 primary schools have been connected to electricity.

By April 30 this year, all 21,168 primary schools in the country will have been powered through grid extension and solar units.

“By Labour Day, all our primary schools will have been connected to power. We expect a dramatic improvement in school performance with equitable access to modern ICT learning,” he said.

Present were several Cabinet Secretaries, Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua and the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Tatsushi Terada among other senior Government officials.

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