General Electric to Develop 1,000 Megawatts in Kenya

General Electric Co. is partnering with Kenyan government and industry to develop 1,000 megawatts of power in the East African nation and is in talks with Kenya Power Ltd. about a power-purchase agreement.

The power projects will probably be developed over five to 10 years, Jay Ireland, president and chief executive officer for Africa said in a phone interview. He didn’t give a price for the partnership in which his company will provide technology and equipment.

“We are in the process of working with Kenya Power to develop a power purchase agreement shortly,” he said. GE, as the company is known, in May signed an agreement with the government to develop power, rail, health care, aviation and training projects, he said.

Kenya plans to spend as much as $50 billion over the next 20 years to meet a 14 percent annual increase in electricity demand, according to the country’s Energy Regulatory Commission. Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy, will need 16,905 megawatts annually by 2031 from 1,520 megawatts this year, the regulator said.

GE signed similar development agreements with the governments of Nigeria and Ghana. Under the accord with Kenya, It will develop wind-energy projects and refurbish rail locomotives in partnership with Rift Valley Railways, Ireland said. The company would be interested in building locomotives for Kenya’s proposed railway line to South Sudan and Ethiopia, he said.

Angola Power

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company supplies jet engines for the Boeing 787s and Embraer planes flown by Kenya Airways Ltd., sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest carrier and one of GE’s main customers in the East African region. In Tanzania, it has power generation projects and is providing health care equipment in Ethiopia and Rwanda.

In Angola, where GE is already supplying oil and gas companies, the company will seek “power generation opportunities,” Ireland said.

“We are looking at mostly utilizing gas or diesel,” he said, without giving more details.

Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer after Nigeria. The southern African nation said Oct. 19 it will start six diesel power stations to supply the capital Luanda by the end of this year. Angola is expected to have economic growth of 6.8 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, as it pumps about 1.7 million barrels of oil a day.

(Corrects number of power plants and GE’s role starting in headline in story originally published on Oct. 24.)
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