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Toshiba Wins Turbines Order for Kenyan Geothermal Complex

Toshiba Corp., the Japanese maker of electronic products, won an order to supply four sets of 70-megawatt steam turbines and generators to a geothermal project in Kenya.

Kenya Electricity Generating Co. also awarded a contract to build the Olkaria I and IV plants to a group comprising Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corp. and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering Co., Toshiba said today in a statement. Hyundai Engineering selected Toshiba to supply the turbines for the plant, Toshiba said.

Toyota Tsusho said in a separate statement that the contract it won with Hyundai Engineering is valued at 30 billion yen ($384 million).

Located in the Rift Valley 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, the Olkaria I extension and Olkaria IV will have a combined output of 280 megawatts, the largest of any power generation complex in Kenya, Toshiba said. The plants are expected to be completed by April 2014.

The Olkaria I extension is funded by a yen-denominated loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, according to the statement. Both plants are expected to operate at full capacity by 2014, Eddy Njoroge, managing director of Kenya Electricity, told reporters in Nairobi today.

“We are hoping that by February 2014 we will have the first unit generating and by May 2014 we will have the second unit,” Njoroge said.

Power Potential

The area around Olkaria has the potential to generate 520 megawatts of geothermal power, he said.

Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, plans to spend as much as $50 billion over the next 20 years to cope with 13.5 percent annual growth in electricity demand. About 27 percent of power generated will be from geothermal sources by 2031, the Energy Regulatory Commission said in July. Kenya currently has an installed power capacity of 1,616 megawatts, of which 1,200 megawatts is produced by Kenya Electricity, he said.

Toyota Tsusho said in August 2009 it was interested in investing in geothermal, wind and biofuel-energy projects in Kenya. The company also agreed to build an oil pipeline from Juba, the capital of southern Sudan to Lamu, a coastal town in southern Kenya, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said in February 2010 after meeting Toyota officials in Japan.

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