NAIROBI, May 20 (Reuters) - Kenya’s main electricity producer KenGen is looking for an adviser to help it secure financing for the development of a 140 megawatt (MW) geothermal plant, it said on Tuesday.
The company, 70 percent owned by the government, has installed capacity of 1,252 megawatts (MW) out of Kenya’s total 1,664 MW. It aims to add another 844 MW to the grid by 2017 as part of a broader national power expansion programme.
Much of the new power supply will come from geothermal sources, tapping underground steam from the Rift Valley.
The advisors are expected to advise KenGen on the identification, procurement and selection of a private investor for the project including funding, KenGen said in a statement, without disclosing the estimated cost of the project.
Kenya relies heavily on renewable energy such as hydroelectric and geothermal power production.
KenGen’s expansion efforts are part of the government’s broader ambitions to add 5,000 MW to Kenya’s power output by 2017, with the goal of boosting growth.
KenGen in February said it had drilled the largest geothermal steam well in Africa with a capacity to generate 30MW of power.
Although expensive to drill initially, development of cheaper geothermal power means the country will come to rely less on thermal or fuel-driven power, prone to the vagaries of high international prices, and rain-fed hydroelectric dams.
Kenya currently has 1,664 MW of capacity against a maximum recorded demand of about 1,410 MW. (Writing by James Macharia, editing by Louise Heavens)