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Africa firm to build 6MW geothermal power plant in Kenya

Firm awarded contract to design and construct its first well head power plant

The contract will see a 6MW geothermal power plant built in Kenya
The contract will see a 6MW geothermal power plant built in Nakuru close to Nairobi, Kenya

An African firm has been awarded a contract to build a geothermal power plant in Kenya. Geothermal Development Company (GDC), owned by the Government of Kenya, has awarded Ormat International Inc. a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Inc, its first well head geothermal power plant project.

The award is the result of an international tender for the design, manufacturing, procurement, construction and commissioning of a 6MW geothermal well head power plant. The Menengai geothermal field is located on the outskirts of the town of Nakuru, about 180 Km west of Nairobi.

Geothermal resources in Kenya, within the Rift Valley, have an estimated potential over 10,000MW spread across 14 prospective sites. GDC was created in 2008 for the specific purpose of accelerating the development of geothermal in Kenya. In the Menengai field, GDC is drilling Phase I of their estimated 400MW project, with a plan to start generating electricity with well head power plants as drilling progresses.

The advantage of the concept to be implemented in the Menegai field is that revenues are generated early and in parallel to the continued development and testing of the geothermal field. Following GDC’s successful drilling of the first well in Menengai, GDC selected Ormat to build the first geothermal power plant included in GDC’s geothermal development plan. GDC will supply the steam for conversion to electricity by Ormat’s power plant.

Commenting on the award, Dita Bronicki, CEO of Ormat, said, “This award both reinforces Ormat’s position as a leader in the geothermal industry, as well as demonstrates our strong commitment to the development of geothermal projects throughout the world using our original technology to match specific local resource conditions. We are happy to be part of the future geothermal development in Kenya as we continue to increase our activities as owner of power plants in the area.”

Since 2000, Ormat has owned and operated the Olkaria III geothermal power plant which is now in its third phase of development and expected to reach 84MW once the expansion is complete. The facility, featuring Ormat’s original air-cooled technology, has been operated by an entirely Kenyan team throughout commercial operation. In addition, Ormat also provided the first combined heat and power geothermal plant to a private greenhouse specialising in flower export from Kenya.