Kenyan, Chinese companies secure Ethiopia’s geothermal deal

A Kenyan and two Chinese companies have secured a geothermal power project in Ethiopia after the government re-launches the Aluto Langano geothermal project.

The project signed this morning is estimated to cost $76.8 million and 96.4 million birr (about $3.4 million). The Aluto Langano geothermal project of Ethiopia will be financed by the loan and grant from the World Bank, according to the information from Ethiopian Electric Power (EPC), the state power generation agency.

The companies secured the deal are from China Shandong Kerui Petroleum Equipment and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group, and Kenya Electricity Generating Company plc .

The activities of the companies involve fabricating and supplying necessary equipment for the project as well as digging 8 wells. The companies have agreed to supply all equipment in eight months period and complete digging the holes in one year period. If the project goes as planned, EPC plans to increase the number of  wells up to 22.

Ethiopia claims to have 10,000 megawatts electricity generation capacity from geothermal. Reports show that several years have elapsed since Ethiopia announced its plan to generate electricity from Aluto Langao geothermal.

Meanwhile, after the World Bank has already provided $126 million, the 8 MW capacity geothermal plant at Aluto-Langano has failed to generate power in years for undisclosed reasons.

Being in the Great Rift-valley region Ethiopia and Kenya have been trying to utilize their geothermal potentials with the later already installing 630 megawatts electricity from geothermal.

KenGen produces about 75 percent of electricity capacity installed in the Kenya. The 65 years old Kenya company utilizes various sources to generate electricity ranging from hydro, geothermal, thermal and wind.

Hydro is the leading source, with an installed capacity of 819.9 megawatts, which is 51 per cent of the company installed capacity, according to KenGen company profile.

“Geothermal is currently at 533.8 megawatts (of which 81.1 megawatts is from the innovative wellheads technology raising geothermal capacity to about 32% of the total installed capacity. Our total thermal capacity is 253.5 megawatts while wind comprises 25.5 megawatts,” it says.