Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station

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Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station
Map of Kenya showing the location of Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station
LocationOlkaria, Nakuru County
Coordinates0°53′29″S 36°17′45″E / 0.89139°S 36.29583°E / -0.89139; 36.29583Coordinates: 0°53′29″S 36°17′45″E / 0.89139°S 36.29583°E / -0.89139; 36.29583
Commission date1981 (unit 1)
1982 (unit 2)
1985 (unit 3)
2014 (unit 4)
2015 (unit 5)
2021 (unit 6) Expected[1]
Power generation
Units operational3 x 15 MW
2 x 70 MW
Nameplate capacity185 megawatts (248,000 hp)

The Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station, also known as Olkaria I Geothermal Power Plant is a geothermal power station in Kenya, with an installed capacity of 185 megawatts (248,000 hp).[2]


The facility is located in the Hell's Gate National Park along with its sister stations, Olkaria II and Olkaria III. This location lies in Olkaria, in Nakuru County, on the eastern edge of the Eastern Rift Valley, approximately 43 kilometres (27 mi), by road, southwest of Naivasha, the nearest large town.[3] Olkaria is approximately 122 kilometres (76 mi), by road, northwest of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and the largest city in that country.[4]


Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station is one in a series of six geothermal power stations, clustered in the Olkaria area in Nakuru County. Four of the stations Olkaria I, Olkaria II, Olkaria III and Olkaria IV are operational.[5][6] Olkaria V is under construction and Olkaria VI is planned for 2021.[7]


The Olkaria I Power Station first started operation in 1981 running one Mitsubishi turbine with a generation capacity of 15MW. In 1982 and 1985, two more turbines identical to the first were commissioned at the facility, bringing the total generation capacity to 45MW.[8] As of January 2015 unit 4 and 5 with a combined installed capacity of 140 Megawatts were inaugurated.[9] This brings the total installed capacity of Olkaria I to 185 Megawatts.[2]

In March 2016, the government of Kenya borrowed KSh9.53 billion (US$95 million), from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to refurbish turbines 1, 2 and 3 at Olkaria I. The works includes increasing the combined capacity of the three turbines from 45MW to 50.7MW. The rehabilitation and upgrade works are expected to last until 2021. This will increase capacity at this power station from 185 megawatts (248,000 hp) to 190.7 megawatts (255,700 hp).[10]

In December 2018, Kenya Electricity Generating Company broke ground for the construction of Unit 6 of Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station, with capacity of 83 megawatts. Completion of this unit is expected in 2021, bringing total capacity at this geothermal station to 273.7 megawatts (367,000 hp).[1]


Olkaria I Power Station is owned by KenGen, a Nairobi Stock Exchange - listed company, in which the government of Kenya maintains 70 percent shareholding, the remaining 30 percent being held by institutional and private investors.[2][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kiplagat, Sam (3 December 2018). "KenGen set to break ground for geothermal plant today". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Sonal Patel (12 January 2015). "Olkaria Geothermal Expansion Project, Rift Valley Province, Kenya". Power Magazine. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ GFC (26 September 2017). "Distance between Naivasha Town, Naivasha, Nakuru County, Kenya and Olkaria, Nakuru County, Kenya". Globefeed.com (GFC). Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ GFC. "Distance between Nairobi Central, Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya and Olkaria, Nakuru County, Kenya". Globefeed.com (GFC). Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  5. ^ Herbling, David (27 December 2011). "KenGen starts new round of steam wells' drilling". Business Daily Africa. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  6. ^ Special Correspondent (13 December 2014). "Geothermal plant adds 280MW to Kenya grid". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  7. ^ REW Editors (10 January 2017). "KenGen Plans Olkaria V Geothermal Project". Renewable Energy World (REW). Retrieved 26 September 2017.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ KenGen (2017). "Profile of Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station". Nairobi: Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen). Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  9. ^ Administrator (19 February 2015). "President Paul Kagame Inaugurates Olkaria I Units 4 & 5". Nairobi: Geosteam Kenya. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  10. ^ Otuki, Neville (16 March 2018). "Japan pumps Sh9.53bn into Kenya's oldest geothermal plant". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  11. ^ Juma, Victor (23 February 2017). "KenGen sells five per cent stake to South Africans for Sh2.3 billion". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 26 September 2017.

External links[edit]