Project moves forward to raise dam wall at 40-MW Masinga hydro project in Kenya

Kenya Electricity Generating Co. Ltd. (KenGen), despite recent droughts in the country, is moving forward with its efforts to raise the dam wall by 2 m at the 40-MW Masinga hydroelectric project on the Tana River in Kenya.

Earlier this month, reported government officials said the project could be forced offline soon should rain not break the region’s ongoing drought.

The increased height of the Masinga project’s 200-ft-high by 7,200-ft-long embankment dam wall is expected to increase the total storage capacity of the Tana River impoundment, which is currently 1,260,000-acre feet.

NSE Kenya is reporting that newly confirmed KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano last week said, “[KenGen] plans to raise the Masinga Dam wall by two meters.” The report also indicates KenGen has signed a deal with Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) to finance an environmental assessment of the plan, which includes installing pumping equipment at the scheme.

The Masinga project was commissioned in 1981 on the country’s longest river and original plans for the facility include an upper reservoir that would hold water pumped from downstream Tana River flow. The upper reservoir capacity would also provide for flood water protection, to a certain extent, for the lower course of the Tana River, according to original plans.

It is reported that France-based EDF will perform the assessment that will last seven months and cost about US$207,000.

The Masinga Dam wall project is part of the Kenyan government’s energy sector recovery program initiated in 2007, which includes hydro project modernization and rehabilitation.

In other news in Kenya, after determining contract improprieties, in March 2017 Kenya’s High Court prevented the awarding of a tender for three small hydro projects that include the 1.8-MW Rupingazi, 2.5-MW Cehmosit and 3.6-MW Kipsonoi plants, which are planned for three rivers of the same names.


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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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