Wartsila Bids for Contract to Build Kenya Solar Plants

(Bloomberg) -- Wartsila Oyj’s East African unit submitted bids for engineering, procurement and construction contracts to develop grid-connected solar farms in Kenya.

The East African nation, which has an electricity supply deficit, is boosting production from renewable sources including wind and geothermal as it cuts reliance on expensive diesel-powered plants. There are about 15 utility-scale solar projects announced in Kenya with a total capacity of 526 megawatts, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Wartsila is working on several potential projects around the country, according to George Oywer, a business development manager at Wartsila Eastern Africa Ltd.

“Renewable energy is the next frontier,” Oywer said.

The Finnish power generator in the past supplied heavy fuel oil-fired plants for thermal projects in Kenya for a total 450 megawatts.

Separately, Kenya switched on its largest solar facility with installed capacity of 50 megawatts, Energy Secretary Charles Keter said by phone. The park in the semi-arid eastern county of Garissa is injecting 15 megawatts into the national grid and will run at full capacity in a week when commissioning tests are complete, he said.

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