AfDB lends €28.1 million to support access to reliable energy in Kenya

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved on 7 December a € 28.1 million senior loan to support the Thika Thermal Power Project in Kenya. This reliable energy private sector power project will encourage economic growth by helping to address Kenya’s energy shortfall.

The 87MW Thika thermal power plant, located in the town of Thika, some 35km from Nairobi, comprising five heavy fuel oil generators convertible into natural gas if gas becomes available, and a 7MW steam turbine will respond to Kenya’s shortage of dependable thermal capacity for which demand is growing by 6% to 8%  a year. Moreover, the power plant’s steam turbine will increase the efficiency of the plant, thus reducing carbon emissions. It will also ease the burden on the Nairobi area’s grid, which suffers from frequent voltage reductions and blackouts.

A spokesperson for Thika Power’s managing director, Samer Nasr, said: “We are fully committed to the realization of the Thika plant in the shortest possible time to support the development of Kenya’s economy and the growing energy demand, with the assistance of our lenders and partners, such as the African Development Bank.”

Because it can be dispatched on demand at short notice, the Thika power plant can act as a rapid response reserve for hydro and wind power projects and therefore support the Kenyan government’s renewable energy strategy. The Thika project would be able to supply an estimated 65,000 additional customers in the country.

Tim Turner, AfDB’s Director of Private Sector and Microfinance department said: “By deploying new generation capacity, the Thika Project will provide the benefit of more reliable power, fewer power outages, and greater scope for private sector and small to medium-sized enterprises growth in the Athi River region. Moreover, the project will create 500 temporary local jobs of which 30 for women and will also generate permanent employment opportunities”.

Technical contact: Richard Claudet

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