Geothermal Menengai project yet to produce electricity

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In a story on Geothermal Development Company’s bid to boost steam power generation (Daily Nation, March 13), Edwin Okoth says the firm has generated 105 megawatts of electricity at its Menengai Phase I plant in 10 years.

As a resident of Nakuru Town, near Menengai, I know the firm has been in existence for seven years and has not generated a single watt of electricity from the project.

The company seems to be struggling. It appears there is not enough steam in Menengai and that is why independent power producers are afraid to invest there.

The story also creates the impression that Geothermal Development Company drilled the Olkaria wells for 412 MW. Not really.

They were a grant to KenGen and so could not go to a private company. They were transferred to the company when KenGen was privatised.

And where is the tens of billions of shillings sunk into the corporation so far? What happened to the 400 MW phase I that had been promised, financed by the African Development Bank?

There should be no attempt to whitewash the company.

JEREMY KIPTOO, Kabarak, Nakuru.

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The story by Edwin Okoth on Geothermal Development Company (Daily Nation, March 13) had several glaring factual errors. For instance, he writes that it took the company 10 years to complete the 105 MW Menengai Phase I project.

The company has been around for only seven years and Menengai Phase I has not been completed. He also contradicts himself by saying Quantum Power is on site clearing ground for groundbreaking. 

Further, the geothermal company had promised 400MW. On January 26, 2012, the Daily Nation reported: Geothermal project to receive Sh10 billion funding boost (by Immaculate Karambu).

These are her words: “The project is being financed by the Government of Kenya, AfDB and other development partners to the tune of more than Sh68 billion.”

In fact, bank lent the firm $120 million. And when was it scaled down to 105 MW?

The company seems to be facing bigger challenges than it can admit. For instance, we read in the papers that it has seven rigs. Where are they? What are they doing?
The latest story attempts to paint the Olkaria project as having taken a long time to come online.

But the 1980s technology is not today’s and funding was scarce for Kenya Power and Lighting Company, which was running the show then.

The geothermal company has nothing to show for the money it has received. 

PIUS NJOROGE, Kapenguria.

The geothermal company has reportedly received Sh80 billion funding in six years but has just one project, in Menengai, which does not generate power.

Let’s fund wind power. The Sh70 billion Lake Turkana wind power project will produce 300 MW?

DORAH WANJA, Njoro, Nakuru.


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