Kenya Electricity Generating Company or KenGen for short is the company that is known for producing the largest percentage of electricity consumed in Kenya. One of the areas they have been focusing on is the Olkaria project, where they harness geothermal energy to generate electricity.
The company recently announced that their Phase 5 of the Olkaria project has been ‘synchronized’ to the national grid as per Friday 26th July. Apparently, Olkaria V unit 1 was able to reach a full load of 86.6MW which fortunately was above its rate capacity of 82.7MW.
KenGen is now working on Olkaria V Unit 2 with a similar rated capacity as the unit 1 which combined is expected to generate a total of 165.4MW. Previously, the geothermal energy contribution to the national grid was 533MW and when Olkaria V is complete, that will rise to 698MW. Olkaria V Unit 2 is undergoing pre-commissioning tests in preparation for steam admission according to the company.
The Olkaria Project was a six station project that started with Olkaria 1 back in 1981. According to KEnGEn, 50% of the energy consumed by Kenyans come from the Olkaria Geothermal fields. KenGen estimates that its current installed capacity accounts over 33% of its total capacity, which means they still have a long way to fully utilize it.
The next major phase is building the Olkaria I Unit VI which is expected to be online by 20201. This will generate an extra 83MW. By 2030, Kenya aims to have 5530 MW of geothermal power which will translate to 26% of the total capacity as part of Vision 2030.