KenGen of Kenya Seeks Partner to Help Develop Geothermal Plants

  • KenGen mulls developing energy plants with private investors
  • Company seeks to more than double generating capacity by 2025

Kenya Electricity Generating Co. said it may partner with U.S., Chinese or Indian investors to finance and develop geothermal plants, including a $650-million facility that will generate as much as 180 megawatts.

KenGen, as the company is known, will probably take a minority stake in Olkaria VI, the plant it expects to begin building in 2018, as it tries to step up generating capacity to meet at least half of the East African nation’s requirements, Finance Director John Mudany said Wednesday in an interview in the capital, Nairobi.

“We could take up 49 percent equity and we hope this will help us attract private investors,” Mudany said. “This is a new instrument we want to pioneer. If it works, we might apply this model on future projects.”

KenGen wants to more than double its generation capacity to 4,270 megawatts by 2025, via plants at geothermal wells Olkaria VII and VIII, Chief Executive Officer Albert Mugo said in a separate interview. KenGen could also partner with the Geothermal Development Co., a state-owned entity that is developing geothermal resources, Mugo said.

The plan to boost generation to at least half of anticipated demand in a decade will cost about $8.1 billion, according to Mugo. The company is considering financial and technical partners from the U.S, Japan, India and China, all of whom have expressed interest in joint ventures, he said, without identifying them.

“Olkaria VI is going to be a pilot and depending on interest, we could do the next one very quickly,” Mugo said. “People are keen to work with us, there are investors who keep asking us how far our plans are are, this is not something unrealistic.”

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