GDC reveals reason behind delays in power generation at Menengai Project

The Geothermal Development Company-GDC has done all that pertains it at Menengai Geothermal Plant towards generation of geothermal power.

However, Kenyans will have to wait for the clearance of three Independent Power Producers in order to realize power generation.

The three IPPs licensed by GDC include Orpower 22 Limited, Sosian Menengai Geothermal Power Limited (SMGPL) and Quantam East Africa Power Limited.

They will be required to tap and supply power to the national grid from the Menengai Geothermal Project.

This was revealed on Thursday when the Regional Development implementation coordination committee led by Rift valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya toured Menengai projects.

Addressing media at the Menengai Geothermal plant during the tour, GDC Central Rift Regional Manager Paul Ngugi admitted that despite GDC having played their part, there has been delays since the three IPPs are yet to be cleared to commence the production of geothermal power.

He however lauded the project’s model saying it will go a long way in ensuring public-private partnership in supporting government towards realization infrastructure capital.

According to GDC Central Rift Regional Manager, by May this year the power plants will be started and in the next 2 years the power plants will be operational.

“The model that we are suing here is new for Kenya but we believe in two years time the power plants will be operational” he said.

While revealing that GDC has been able to drill 59 wells and tested 26 for steam that can produce 105 megawatts, he noted that security matters has been a challenge on the side of the lenders.

He is however quick to point out that the paper works are at final stages with the Treasury before the real work starts with the IPPs.

“We’ve been working hard to get the steam which we now have for the 105 megawatts. For the last one year we have been working on all the paper works that the lenders need and once we finalize with Treasury then the works can commence” he said.

On her part Senior Director from President’s Delivery Unit for Rift Valley Ms Trufosa Awuor stating that the government is working to support the GDC project while ensuring value for money.

The officer from the President’s Delivery Unit assuring members of the public that the Unit will also ensure that there is smooth partnership between the private sector and the government to realize development across the country.

On the issue of the delay in the clearance of the Independent Power Producers, Senior Director from President’s Delivery Unit for Rift Valley noting that it is in order in that the office of the Attorney and Treasury have to scrutinize the contracts to ensure they will be beneficial to the citizens.

“We have had a sense of delay in power production but as you know these are private partners and therefore it is prudent that the office of the Attorney and Treasury takes time to scrutinize everything so that they don’t sign what will later bite us” she said.

Sentiments that were echoed by Rift valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya who stated that the Government is working to ensure all the mega projects are completed.

He added that the government is also on the watch out to ensure value for money during the whole process of the projects.

“The Government is committed towards ensuring that all the mega projects are completed and value for money seen” said Natembeya.

On Friday, the team will inspect projects in Loitokitok.

PHOTO/Pristone Mambili:GDC Central Rift Regional Manager Paul Ngugi(in a tie) and General Manager Geothermal Resource Development Cornel Ofwona(right) explain a point to Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya at the Menengai Geothermal Project on March 12,2020.