USEA seeks consulting support for Power Africa project in Kenya

17 May 2018 3 min. read
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The United States Energy Association has invited proposals from the management consulting industry for help with an expansion project in the Olkaria Geothermal Field in Kenya. The project, which is funded by USAID, will add up to 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity to the field over the next six years.

Located in the Great Rift Vally of Kenya, the Olkaria Geothermal Field has been a major source of energy for Kenya since 1973, when deep drilling in the region first began. Estimates place the geothermal potential of the field at somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 MW of electricity. 

The field was first explored in 1956, and deep drilling of the region began in 1973, when the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) drilled a number of geothermal wells. The plant has since grown to an operational capacity of just over 530 MWe, which is a substantial volume but is only a fraction of the potential capacity.

The deficit in the plant’s generation can be attributed to a number of factors, the most direct of which is a lack of infrastructure funding – a problem that is prevalent across Africa. Recently, KenGen has been looking to rectify this problem, specifically with respect to the Olkaria field, through its “Good to Great” scheme, which aims at the addition of 500MWe of capacity by 2023.

USEA seeks consulting support for Power Africa project in Kenya

Alongside investment from KenGen itself, the expansion drive is also receiving a considerable amount of implementation support from the United States Energy Association (USEA), which is the US representative to the World Energy Council. The USEA, in turn, is working in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment.

Funding for the project is being provided by USAID through its Energy Utility Partnership Program (EUPP), which is aimed at improving energy capacity and efficiency in the developing world through sustainable means. For sub-Saharan Africa, the EUPP is executed through the Power Africa initiative, which uses the resources offered by the US government to give assistance in policy, finance, and technical areas.

Previously, KenGen has repeatedly turned to the consulting industry for support with improvements to the Olkaria plant. Now, as the consortium of institutions looks to achieve its 2023 goal, the need has arisen again for consulting services, and the USEA has released a request for proposals (RFP) to this end.

The project involves an assessment of the plant to ascertain key areas for improvement, which include “feasibility of planned expansions; impact on the reservoir of in-field cold reinjection; possible economic impact of additional condensate recovery cycles; and best practices for knowledge transfer between staff," said a statement.

The appeal is the latest in a string of energy projects for which the public sector in Africa has sought consulting services. Ghana has recruited consulting firms for two separate energy projects this year, while Tanzania and Ethiopia have both sought support for one project each this year.