NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has announced that its first project which was intended for the evacuation of steam power from the Menengai crater is set for May completion.
A fully funded government project, the Menengai-Soilo project was started in April 2014 at an estimated cost of Sh0.8billion.
In a statement, the 12.6Km line project will evacuate 105MW of geothermal electricity from the Menengai wells and inject it to National Grid at Soilo substation.
The development is being undertaken by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC).
At the same time, GDC has signed power purchase agreements with three independent power producers to convert the steam at Menengai to electricity.
This electricity will then be transmitted by KETRACO via the grid.
The project will be managed by Quantum Power, Sosian Energy, OrPower22 and the Independent Power Producers who won the tenders.
The project scope includes the construction of a 132kV substation at Menengai, extension of the bay in the existing Soilo substation and transmission line infrastructure connecting the two.
“In the future the substation will evacuate 400MW via 400kV lines to meet projected the growing demands,” reads the statement.
The evacuation process has however not be smooth sailing. For instance, cavities and fault lines in the soil structure at the crater have posed many challenges.
“In addition there have been deep excavations at the Menengai substation site. Because of the poor soil formation, all the backfilling soil could only be hauled for an average 13km outside the crater. Even more challenging is the backfilling of tower foundations which are 30km away from the murram borrow site,” said acting Managing Director Fernandes Barasa.
KETRACO is currently undertaking 35 projects across the country to evacuate power strengthen the existing grid system, give access to areas that were off-grid previously and interconnect Kenya with neighbouring countries.