NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya has started building a geothermal power plant to add 83 megawatts (MW) of capacity to the national grid, the state-owned power generation utility said on Tuesday.
Geothermal power is Kenya’s second largest source of electricity after hydroelectric power. The country has total installed power capacity of about 2,336 MW.
President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the groundbreaking for the plant at Olkaria, about 112 km (62 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.
The plant, owned by state-run Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), is being built by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and is expected to be completed in 2021.
The government estimates demand for electricity will grow at 9 percent a year until 2021 and then ease back to 7 percent.
KenGen plans to add 1,745 megawatts worth of geothermal power by 2025, part of a government push to end generation from fossil fuels and also to power an industrialisation drive aimed at providing jobs for its youthful population.
Reporting by John Ndiso; Editng by Elias Biryabarema and Edmund Blair