Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ormat completes $150m Kenyan geothermal project

Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced this week the completion of phase two construction at the Olkaria III geothermal power plant in Kenya. The power plant has been synchronized to the grid, adding 35 MW of base load capacity to the existing 13 MW plant that has been in continuous operation since 2001 with availability between 97% and 99%.

The expanded power plant will save 120,000 tons of imported oil, mitigate approximately 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year and reduce the average production cost of electricity in Kenya while reducing its dependence on imports.

"Ormat is proud to have built up the plant capacity to the original target of 48 MW," said Lucien Bronicki, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Yavne, Israel-based Ormat. "This accomplishment was made possible by Ormat's belief in Kenya's economy combined with the hard work and dedication of our Kenyan employees and colleagues."

Ormat Technologies financed the construction of both phases along with the drilling of the wells by investing approximately $150 million into the project from its own internal sources.

The additional clean, base load geothermal energy generated by Olkaria III will increase the supply to the local transmission, distribution and retail utility, Kenya Power and Lighting Company Ltd (KPLC), and help meet the country's increasing demand for reliable, fuel-free electricity.

"Ormat's commitment to Africa started with our first project - a solar pump installed in Mali in 1966," added Mr. Bronicki. "We hope this project spurs additional development and opens the world's eyes to Africa's immense renewable potential. We sincerely hope that Olkaria III will serve as an example for other private investors in Africa and encourage International Financial Institutions to upgrade their support for private renewable energy projects."

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