Kenya prepares to open 60-MW Sondu Miriu

Kenya Electricity Generating Co. (KenGen) says it plans to launch a 30-MW unit of the 60-MW Sondu Miriu hydroelectric project by the end of March on Kenya’s Sondu River.

KenGen Chairman Titus Mbathi said March 6 the firm had commissioned one 30-MW unit of Sondu Miriu. The utility is scrambling to boost generating capacity to meet ever increasing demand in the east African country whose economy has been on a rebound in recent years.

“We have two units of 30 MW each,� Mbathi said. �The next one is ready for commissioning. We expect to commission it towards the end of this month.”

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) approved a US$99.5 million Overseas Development Assistance loan for Sondu Miriu in 2004. KenGen awarded a civil works contract for the run-of-river project to Koinoike Construction Co. Ltd. of Japan. Nippon Koei Ltd. of Japan is the consulting engineering firm.

Mbathi said KenGen is working on another hydro project downstream of Sondu Miriu, 21.2-MW Sangoro, which the company hopes will be ready in three years. JBIC approved a US$46.4 million loan for that project in 2007.

KenGen took bids in December for civil construction and equipment for Sangoro. Sangoro’s two 10.6-MW generating units are to utilize water discharged from Sondu Miriu’s outlet channel, returning it to the river. (HNN 11/14/07)

The two plants would add to KenGen’s hydroelectric capacity of just over 677 MW. Kenya has an effective capacity of about 1,200 MW, which includes emergency generation added to the country’s installed capacity of about 1,116 MW. Mbathi said the country’s peak power demand stands at about 1,100 MW.

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