By Derrick Kiplagat
Toyota is eyeing for a share of tenders from the government of Kenya in the geothermal sector. The Japanese corporation known for its car manufacture, on Sunday claimed it wanted to inject Billions of dollars in Kenya’s energy sector after successfully building the 280-megawatt Olkaria Plant.
This announcement came after Friday’s meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Prime Minister’s residence in Tokyo. President Kenyatta is banking on foreign money to unlock potential in otherwise capital intensive projects like geothermal and transport, in what has seen him make major deals especially with the Chinese Government.
“At a meeting In Tokyo with president Uhuru Kenyatta, who is in a five-day official visit, senior Toyota Tsusho executives said they had set their eyes on a number of geothermal projects the government is due to put to tender in the coming weeks, ” the presidential strategic Communication Unit said on Sunday in a press statement.
These projects include a unit of Olkaria I and V, and Olkaria VI. Other fields of interest included Menengai, Akiira, Longonot, Baringo-Silali and Suswa power Projects, Toyota Tsusho CEO Jun Karube told the President.
The country currently has an installed capacity of 2,300MW and plans to further raise it to 5000MW by 2017 to cut the cost of power. The government’s major infrastructure projects have raised interest from foreign financiers but continue to be dominated by Chinese companies some of which have been subjects of major corruption investigations.
Toyota won the 280MW Olkaria tender that had also attracted interests from several companies including Daewoo (South Korea), Trans Century (Kenya) and Sumitomo (Japan).
The company which also carries out feasibility studies on the building of an oil refinery in Lamu port through to Kampala and Kigali also expressed interest in bidding for the project itself when it became available. The firm is also in final stages with the county government of Mombasa to set up a 14.7 billion water desalination plant.