The Menengai Geothermal Power plant under construction is expected to be complete by July this year, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has said. The Sh50 billion (500 million USD) project is being financed by a group of lenders, key among them the AfDB Group, European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Government of Kenya. Funding of project includes the African Development Fund loan of Sh12.4 billion and a grant totaling Sh2.5 billion from Scaling up Renewable Energy Projects (SREP).
According to AfDB’s Environment and Climate Manager Kurt Lonsway, the plant is expected to cover the need of over 500,000 Kenyan households, 300,000 small businesses and 1000 Gega watts (GW) for other businesses and industries. “The project situated within the Eastern Sector of the African Rift Valley, about 180 kilometres North West of Nairobi has a potential of producing up to 1600 Mega Watts (MW),” Lonsway told Journalists attending the AfDB Annual Meetings on Climate Change and Energy being held in Zambia. He said, “AfDB will help to develop the steam field for generation capacity of up to 400MW in the first phase.”
During the session, Kenya was highly commended as one of the countries working hard to in cooperate renewable energy in its system. Lonsway said Kenya is among six countries in Africa that have launched major initiatives to utilize solar and geothermal power, which has resulted to over 10 GW of capacity contracted. AfDB Director for Energy and Climate Change Alex Rugamba said Kenya Power’s electrification programme has managed to connect 130 million new connections. He said the East African market is vibrant in renewable energy and singled out M-kopa as an efficient way of utilizing renewable energy in Information Communication Technology (ICT). “There are reasons for setting Africa’s aspirations high. Countries ranging from South Africa to China, Morocco to Vietnam and Kenya to Bangladesh provide examples of what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time with regard to scaling up generation, on grid and off grid connectivity solutions,” he said.
Rugamba said they will sign an Energy Deal in the course of the week that will take a holistic view of the sector’s needs encompassing on-grid generation, transmission, distribution and distributed solutions along clean cooking and energy efficiency. “To address the deficits, the New Deal intends to focus on the main factors that are holding back development of the energy sector,” he said.