Tropical Power Launches Gorge Farm Energy Park

Press Release: 20th August 2015, Naivasha, Kenya: The ClimateCare team are delighted to be involved in this project which launched in Kenya today.

  • Opening of first grid-connect biogas plant in Africa
  • To be the first grid-connect Solar-AD plant

Tropical Power logo
Tropical Power Energy Group (Tropical Power) is today opening Africa’s first grid-connect Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant, part of the Gorge Farm Energy Park. In 2016 construction will commence on a further 10MW of solar generation capacity.

The event was officiated by The Governor of Nakuru County, Kinuthia Mbugua. He says, “The Gorge Farm Energy Park is a showcase project for Nakuru County, Kenya and the African continent. Distributed power projects are vital to our energy security, reliability and efficiency. And the Park will be using local crop waste and the sun to generate clean, renewable power close to the point of use.

“I look forward to working with Tropical Power, Kenya Power and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum to see how we can develop more biogas projects for organic and municipal waste in the county.”

The AD plant has been developed and will be operated by Tropical Power Ltd, on behalf of Biojoule Kenya, an Independent Power Producer (IPP). ERC are currently reviewing the PPA signed by Tropical Power and KPLC, as well as the Generation & Distribution license for the project.

Eng. Joseph Njoroge, MBS, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum says, “Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are working together to encourage the private sector to develop high quality distributed renewable power assets, like the Gorge Farm Energy Park. Kenya is open for business for investors and developers interested in clean, renewable and bankable energy projects. The biogas technology at this cutting edge project will provide Kenyans with more clean, reliable and cost effective electricity in their homes and businesses.”

The Gorge Farm Energy Park will also be a field research facility for an Oxford University research programme, led by Tropical Power Chairman, Mike Mason. This programme aims to advance the technology to enable AD to compete with conventional electricity delivered to the grid.

Mike Mason, Chairman, Tropical Power says, “Through the Gorge Farm Energy Park we aim to displace expensive and imported generation fuels – like diesel and heavy fuel oil – from Kenya’s distributed power mix. The Gorge Farm AD Plant is proof that locally produced feedstock can generate clean and cost effective distributed power. You cannot just plug and play a plant like this.
 
“The biology of the microbes that make the gas and the feedstocks that provide the source of energy are unique from site to site, and require time and expertise to understand. Tropical Power has been supported in this with extensive help from the Universities of Oxford and Southampton.”

Tropical Power’s partners include Kenya’s VP Group –the largest producer and exporter of fresh produce in East Africa.

GE was selected to deploy its Jenbacher gas engines (provided by Clarke Energy) for the first time in East Africa in a renewable energy project. GE’s two J420 units are designed to operate at the farm’s high altitude of nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. And GE was the launch partner for the Gorge Farm Energy Park opening.

George Njenga, Distributed Power Leader for Africa, GE says, “This is the first AD project in sub-Saharan Africa for GE. It is a big win for Kenya to get a ground-breaking project like this off the ground. It needs the developers, researchers, suppliers and government to work hand in hand. We look forward to working with Tropical Power, Kenya Power and the Ministry of Energy on more ground-breaking projects.”

The project has been registered with the Gold Standard by ClimateCare and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 7,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Tom Morton, Director of ClimateCare’s Nairobi office said, “This is an exceptionally innovative way of generating renewable power and diversifies Kenya’s generating mix away from fossil fuels such as oil.”

ClimateCare is retained to sell the verified emissions reductions. “We expect interest from the supermarkets in the UK, as this project is in their supply chain and compliments a number of other projects that we are managing in similar circumstances,” said Morton.

Construction on The Gorge Farm AD Plant took 12 months and it cost US$7.5 million – including the acquisition of agricultural equipment. It is projected to have a 6-year payback period – due to the combination of grid sales and higher-tariff energy supply to Gorge Farm. The Plant has an effective life of 25 years.

Tropical Power is in the final stages of fundraising and planning to commence work on the 10MW solar PV plant at Gorge Farm Energy Park within the next 12 months.

END

About Tropical Power
Tropical Power Energy Group (Tropical Power) is an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) company, building renewable energy solutions for Africa. It is focused on developing utility-scale renewable energy technologies from biomass and sunshine. Tropical Power plans to build renewable power assets across Africa producing over 130MW of clean, distributed power by 2018.

About GE’s Distributed Power Business
GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business is a leading provider of power equipment, engines and services focused on power generation at or near the point of use. Distributed Power’s product portfolio includes highly efficient industrial reciprocating engines and aeroderivative gas turbines that generate 100kW to 100MW of power for numerous industries globally. In addition, Distributed Power offers life cycle services and support for more than 37,000 distributed power products worldwide to help customers meet their business challenges—anywhere and anytime.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Distributed Power employs about 5,000 people around the world.

About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

About GE Power & Water
GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar, biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world’s most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Power & Water’s six business units include Distributed Power, Nuclear Energy, Power Generation Products, Power Generation Services, Renewable Energy and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE’s largest industrial business.
Follow GE Power & Water on Twitter @GE_PowerWater and on LinkedIn. To hear the latest news and conversations for Distributed Power, use the Twitter hashtag #DistributedPower.

About ClimateCare
ClimateCare is registered in the UK and Kenya. Working with governments and businesses it delivers integrated Climate+Care programmes which protect the environment and improve people’s lives. Specialists in measuring climate and development outcomes and structuring finance for projects, the team also offer project development and consultancy services.

Find out more at www.climatecare.org, or follow @ClimateCare.

For press enquiries please contact:
Rhiannon Szmigielski, ClimateCare +44 (0)1865 591008, rhiannon.szmigielski@climatecare.org