US gives $0.9m for clean power project

Tuesday August 29 2017

Kenya’s rural electrification programme is on course. PHOTO FILE | NMG


The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has signed a $897,192 (Ksh89.7 million) grant for a feasibility study to evaluate the development of three small hydroelectric plants in Kenya.

Virunga Power Kenya Ltd will use the grant to evaluate viability of sites for power generation and propose the best way to connect homes and businesses to clean, reliable electricity.

The study comes as Kenya is diversifying electricity generation from hydro and fossil fuel plants to geothermal, wind and solar sources.

The aim is to step up power output for local use and export the excess to neighbouring countries.

“These funds will help Kenya reach rural electrification targets, in addition to promoting business case for community co-ownership and participation in small renewable energy projects across region and beyond,” Virunga’s managing director, Brian Kelly said.

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Potential of steam

The study will allow the developers of the generation sites to identify US equipment manufacturers and service providers that are well-positioned to outfit the hydroelectric plants, Ms Lida USTDA’s regional director for sub-Saharan Africa Fitts, said.

USTDA has also advanced $1.6 million to Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) and Xago Africa Ltd and develop their power generation projects in geothermal and solar fields respectively.

State owned KenGen plans to increase the amount of electricity generated by the already existing geothermal plants at Olkaria fields near Naivasha town through maximising the potential of steam from the wells.

USTDA has signed a $500,000 grant with KenGen for a study to assess the use of US technology solutions to increase energy efficiency and power production.

Nevada-based energy equipment manufacturer Langson Energy Inc is conducting the study in partnership with KenGen.

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