US firm to build 330MW plant in Suswa

 US-based renewable energy tech firm CYRQ Energy will spend Sh30 billion in putting up a 330MW geothermal power plant in Suswa area, Narok County.

Chief executive Nicholas Goodman said applications for approval had been sent out to regulatory agencies in Kenya after feasibility studies conducted at the site confirmed availability of adequate thermal energy to power the project.

Mr Goodman noted that upon the award of the mandatory permits, the project would be implemented within a two-year time-period, with the first phase expected to churn out 75MW – whilst the remaining phases will raise the total output to 330MW.

“The first phase of the project will be funded through internal sources, a mix of equity and debt, while long-term debt will be secured for execution of the other phases of the project. CYRQ owns and operates six geothermal plants (including in US) and is extremely experienced in the development of these types of projects,” he said.

Mr Goodman said its technical team and independent industry experts had assessed the availability of the geothermal-power resource – with a drilling programme, preliminary design and installation of the power plant planned ahead of commencement of the project.

“These projects are typically constructed over a period of three to four years, after which they start selling electricity to the utility (in this case Kenya Power) under a long-term power purchase agreement, which extends for 25 years,” he said.

Kenya’s geothermal energy output accounts for the largest renewable energy resource, whereby in 2018, it earned the country’s leading energy supplier, KenGen, with a revenue figure of Sh17.1 billion (58%), followed by hydropower at Sh8.3 billion (29%), thermal energy at Sh3.45 billion (12%) and wind-energy at Sh395 million.

Other geothermal plants under development are located at Ol Karia, Mt Longonot and Menengai Crater, which are located in Nakuru and Silale in Baringo county, respectively.

“It will not only furnish Kenya with the much needed low-cost electricity, but will generate quality jobs as well as facilitate technology transfer. These skills once learnt by Kenyans could be used in developing other geothermal fields in Kenya and abroad,” Mr Goodman added.

Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Business Daily Africa.