On 19th February 2015, Olkaria I units 4&5 were inaugurated by H.E. Paul Kagame President of Rwanda assisted by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya. The two units have a total capacity of 140MW similar to those of Olkaria IV inaugurated in October last year. Olkaria I Unit 4 was put into commercial operation late 2014 and Unit 5 in January 2015.
The inauguration of the two units mark the final phase of the 280MW geothermal power project at Olkaria which includes the Olkaria IV which was inaugurated by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta on 17th October 2014. The 280MW power project was one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of Kenya and is estimated to cost about US$ 1 billion. This is a critical project of the ongoing more than 5000MW power programme initiated by the government and emphasizes the government’s commitment to enhance the country’s power for the economic and social growth.
Geothermal now accounts for 51% in the national power generation mix and has averaged 41% in the last six months. This has seen a decline in reliance on hydro and thermal sources leading to a reduction in the cost of electricity by over 30%. At US Cts 7.2/kWhr, geothermal is one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Kenya. Kenya is now working on interconnection the major cities to Olkaria including Mombasa and Nairobi and eventually to the East African Power Pool and the Southern Africa Power Pool and therefore becoming a major net exporter of power in the region.
Currently about 8 rigs are drilling continuously for steam for the next planned expansion of about 560MW. A consultant is being selected for the supervision of the construction of Olkaria V (140MW) will be located in Olkaria Domes near Olkaria IV.