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MHI Receives Order for Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has received a full-turnkey order from Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen) to build a 35 MW (megawatt) geothermal power generation plant, the third unit at the company's Olkaria II geothermal power station. The new construction initiative is expected to become Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project, and the new plant is slated to go on-stream in the end of December 2009.

The Olkaria II power station is located approximately 100 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, the nation's capital. The plant on order will consist of a steam turbine, condenser, generator, peripheral equipment, electrical facilities and a control system. MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works will be responsible for the design, manufacture, installation and civil engineering work. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation will supply a generator. Mitsubishi Corporation is handling the trade particulars.

Prior to the latest order, MHI has already supplied five geothermal power plants to KenGen: three units (15MW each) for Olkaria I that went on-stream in 1980s and two units (35 MW each) for Olkaria II completed in 2003. MHI believes the new order was awarded as a result of the power provider's recognition of the technological excellence, reliability and safety of those earlier deliveries.

Geothermal power generation utilizes geothermal fluid, a mixture of high-temperature water and steam (over 250°C, or 482°F) extracted from deep underground reservoirs through production wells. The steam extracted from the fluid is used to rotate steam turbines. As geothermal power generation involves no fuel combustion and emits no CO2, it contributes to environmental preservation. Construction of the third unit at Olkaria II is expected to become CDM project, one of the three "flexibility mechanisms" incorporated into the Kyoto Protocol which came into force in February 2005.

MHI has vast experience in geothermal power systems, in addition to plants relying on other natural energy sources such as wind power, hydropower and solar energy. Outside Japan, to date the company has delivered geothermal plants to 13 countries worldwide, including Kenya, the United States, Iceland and Costa Rica. Their collective power output is about 3,000 MW.

Kenya presently obtains more than 75% of its entire power supply form hydropower generation, but as geothermal power generation is a stable power source that is not affected by weather, the country has plans to promote geothermal projects. MHI will now further fortify its marketing activities, both within Kenya and worldwide, for geothermal power plants as a clean energy resource.

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