Kenya’s installed electricity capacity is increasing by 35 MWe. This is thanks to a power plant connected to the national grid from the Menengai geothermal field in the Rift Valley in the west of the country. Sosian Energy, the project developer, has become the first independent power producer (IPP) to commission its 35 MWe steam power plant at the Menengai site.
The Nairobi-based company is purchasing the steam required to operate the plant from the Kenyan state-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC), which has already drilled several geothermal wells at the project site. Under the existing agreement between the two parties, Sosian Energy will pay 1.7 billion Kenyan shillings ($14.5 million) per year for the next 25 years to GDC through Sosian Menengai Geothermal Power. The special purpose company will sell the electricity generated by the Menengai III plant to the state-owned Kenya Power.
According to Davis Chirchir, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Sosian will sell a kWh of electricity at 9.6 Kenyan shillings, or $0.06. The new plant will enable Kenya to further diversify its electricity mix. The East African country already has one of the most diversified electricity mixes on the continent, with 86% of its electricity generated from renewable sources, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass.
After Sosian, it will probably be Globeleq’s turn to commission its geothermal plant at Menengai. The British IPP has launched construction work on its plant in June 2023. The project has been entrusted to the Japanese company Toyota Tsusho Corporation, which has enlisted the services of its compatriot Fuji Electric to install the turbine and electrical generator. Globeleq, which will operate and maintain the plant once it is commissioned in 2025, will also purchase the geothermal steam from GDC.