Geothermal Saves Kenya $24 Million of Fuel Monthly, Says KenGen

New power-generating units at Kenya’s Olkaria I plant are saving East Africa’s biggest economy about 2.2 billion shillings ($24 million) a month on fuel costs, according to the country’s biggest electricity producer.

A fourth and fifth unit at Kenya Electricity Generating Co.’s Olkaria I geothermal plant, which each started providing 70 megawatts of capacity in October and December, are reducing reliance on fuel used in hydropower generation, Chief Executive Officer Albert Mugo told reporters Monday in the capital, Nairobi. The facilities will be inaugurated on Feb. 19, he said.

The fuel-cost component associated with hydropower generation “has fallen to a low of 2.51 shillings per kilowatt-hour by this February, which represents a drop of 65 percent,” he said.

KenGen’s expansion plan is part of a broader national program to add 5,000 megawatts to Kenya’s current capacity of 1,664 megawatts by 2017. Geothermal, or heat-generated, power accounts for 51 percent of electricity generated in Kenya, displacing hydropower as the largest source, Mugo said.

KenGen, 70 percent state-owned, plans to raise 30 billion shillings, half of which will come from the sale of stock to existing shareholders.

“We are waiting for government to inform us when they will take their rights,” Mugo said. “We are hoping this will happen within the next two weeks.”

Copyright 2015 Bloomberg

Lead image: Olkaria II geothermal plant via Shutterstock

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