With the current power output in Kenya staggering at 1,533 MW, it’s now projected that the new Olkaria geothermal power project- the biggest of its kind in Africa- will boost the capacity by pumping an additional 280MW. However, the government plans to increase its power output to 3,750MW by the year 2018 to usher in better tidings in 2030 with an estimated 15,000MW to cater for the ever rising demand from consumers. Gracing the ground breaking opening ceremony of the project was His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki. This being the most ambitious project so far in his tenure, President Kibaki said, “This project will firmly put Kenya on the path to Vision 2030, since affordable, reliable and adequate power are key to the attainment of this economic growth blue print.”
The project is expected to increase the power generation all across the country by 40 percent and help in reducing the reliance of hydroelectric power energy. The project comes at a time when Kenya is anticipating an ever rising demand for energy as the country takes steps towards realizing Vision 2030. This consequently shall shift energy production to a renewable source thereby solving the problem of unreliability on hydroelectric power which has constantly been affected by unpredictable forces of nature.
Drawing the line between the two sources, geothermal power is much cheaper and economical than hydroelectric power and with a prevalence of increased production, this automatically sounds like good news to the users and consumers as price would be expected to be go down. The grand project is expected to be complete by 2014 at a cost of $981 million (Sh. 82.4 billion) financed by KenGen, the Government of Kenya, the German Development, the World Bank, the French Development Bank , the European Investment Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
After its completion, the power plant shall be the second biggest infrastructure project after the multi-billion Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) and Lamu Port constructions. The projects are estimated to cost a whooping 1.5 trillion Kenya shillings; tax-payers money. After it emerged that the country doesn’t have enough power reserves to cater for the capacity demanded, the Government placed emphasis on the production of geothermal power among other eco-friendly sources of power.
Speaking during the ceremony, the President also lashed out any possible plans of making any sort of endorsements to anyone. He categorically stated that he has been under intense pressure to name his favorite candidate that shall assume office after the next general elections soon after he leaves. “As we prepare for the coming elections some people have been questioning me on my stand but I wonder of what help it will be to them,” said the President.
He also made it clear that there were no any given ‘state house projects’ as many have been contemplating in the media. He fervently dismissed the claims and added that that the only way candidates would make it to the house on the hill was by their commitment to work hard for Kenyans and preach unity. The President urged all citizens to be peaceful and the presidential aspirants to peacefully carry their campaigns.
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