Imenti Tea Factory Company is already generating 1 megawatt through the Imenti mini-hydro project. Last June, the factory signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to supply surplus power to the national grid. The second project still under construction at Gura river in Nyeri is a four-factory partnership that will serve the KTDA factories at Gitugi, Iriani, Chinga and Gathuthi.The KTDA has invited expressions of interest to develop the sites. Meanwhile, consultants are reviewing the remaining sites and updating feasibility studies.
According to Mr. Daniel Theuri, the Team Leader at Que Energy Limited, which conducted the feasibility studies, 10 of the 12 sites are commercially viable with an estimated payback period of between two and five years. The 10 sites have a combined capacity of 22 MW.The Kenyan tea industry, from farmers to factories to rural tea houses represent another opportunity for Hydrovolts turbines to make cost-effective, clean and green, distributed renewable energy. We've also received inquiries from India's tea sector.
Small hydros are constructed under a process known as “run of river” and do not affect the local communities as power is generated from the natural flow of the river.
[Kenyan Energy Minister, Mr. Kiraitu] Murungi urged KTDA and its factory companies to move fast and implement small hydros in the viable sites. He said affordable financing could be accessed by the agency once a proposal for implementation is approved.