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Kenya eyes 540MW geothermal plants by 2018


21:21, December 23, 2011

NAIROBI, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is set to complete the construction of a 540 megawatts (MW) geothermal plant by 2018 in order to increase the green energy mix of its electricity generation, a senior official at the energy firm said on Thursday.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Geothermal Resource Development Manager Geoffrey Muchemi told journalist that the company is doing a feasibility study to be completed by June 2012 on the best sites to carry out the drilling of over 164 steams wells at cost of between 1 billion to 2 billion U.S. dollars to power the plant.

"The 540 MW geothermal plant will be built in phases due to the capital intensive nature of geothermal power. The steam production will be enhanced through the use of newly acquired Chinese rigs which can dig deeper into the ground as part of plans to inject more sustainable electricity into Kenya's national electricity grid," Muchemi said during the commissioning of one of its newly acquired 24 million U.S. dollar electricity drilling rigs in Naivasha located approximately 100 km southwest of Nairobi.

He said that the electric rigs will replace the company old diesel rigs in a bid to speed up drilling of steam wells in the country's geothermal rich rift valley region which is estimated to have a potential over 7,000 MW of geothermal power.

Muchemi said that this plant is in addition to the 280 MW geothermal plants set to be completed by 2014.

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