12 November 2016, Nairobi — A senior official at the Vision 2030 secretariat want Geothermal Development Company (GDC) to fast-track the process of generating steam power at the Menengai fields in Nakuru County.
This, he said, will speed up the country’s ambitious flagship project of providing Kenyans with green energy and at the same time saving the multibillion project from being branded another “white elephant project.”
According to the Vision 2030 roadmap, Menengai field is one of the key pillars of the 5,000MW that the country is targeting to generate.
The eight -year -old State Corporation is supposed to contribute 810MW towards this target out of which 460MW are to be generated from Menengai fields.
The remaining balance of 150MW will be generated from Suswa and an additional 200MW from Silale project in Baringo County.
The drilling of the Menengai fields started in 2011 but so far GDC has managed to generate 105 MW which is yet to be added to the national grid.
The delay according to the company is occasioned by the Independent Power Producers who have not completed constructing power plants at the site.
GDC is expected to generate Sh1.7billion annually from the sale of steam in Menengai fields when the power plants will be operational in 2017.
“We were supposed to celebrate the inclusion of 105MW from Menengai wells in the national grid last Christmas but this has been delayed,” said Mr Jonathan Lodompui, a director at the Kenya Vision 2030 secretariat.
Mr Lodompui said the secretariat has advised GDC to sort out the pending technical issues and avoid further delays.
“We are going to extend more time to GDC to resolve the outstanding technical issues slowing down the generation of power at Menengai wells and hopefully they will stick to the new timelines,” he added.
However, he did not indicate the time frame only saying “we have discussed this issue internally with GDC management and we have advised them accordingly.”
Mr Lodompui said the ball now is on the court of Independent Power Producers to take up the challenge and turn the multibillion project into a thriving power generation hub in the country.
He was speaking in Nakuru Town when he led a team from the Vision 2030 secretariat who were inspecting the environmental strategic impact assessment initiatives at the site by the company.
The environment restoration project at Menengai is funded by Hanns Seidel Foundation.
According to the foundation project officer in charge of climate change, Ms Sabine Rundgren, the foundation was targeting flagship projects under Vision 2030 to ascertain how Kenya was utilising sources of green energy.
“We are looking at the best practices within this environmentally friendly projects and how the country and the communities living near the project are benefiting,” said Ms Rundgren.
*Francis Mureithi – Daily Nation