Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kenya: Wellhead Geothermal Energy Turbines Produce 56 MW

Before Renewable Power Plant is Completed, Geothermal Overtakes Hydro in Kenya (IPS)

Five wellheads in Olkaria, in Kenya's Rift Valley region. Credit I. Esipisu/IPS
In its quest to generate more reliable, climate-friendly electric energy, Kenya has become the first country in the world to make use of temporary geothermal wellheads, which are currently injecting an extra 56 megawatts into the national grid.

According to engineers at the Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen), it takes a number of years to construct a single geothermal power plant, because it has to be fed by steam from several wells, which are often drilled and left open for years awaiting completion of the main plant.

So far, the company has mounted 11 wellheads that now account for 56.1 megawatts of the country’s total geothermal energy production, as it constructs the sixth and seventh geothermal power plants at Olkaria site in the Rift Valley, which will be completed by 2018. Four more wellheads are under construction, and experts say they will produce a total of 20 more megawatts of electricity in the next few months.

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