Rupingazi

Partially completed 6MW project will improve energy access to more than 175,000 people in the foothills of Mount Kenya.

Pre-construction development work on a partially completed run-of-river hydroelectric power plant in central Kenya is under way thanks to a USD $0.2m development loan provided by REPP.

The 6MW project is located on the Rupingazi River in a rural part of Embu County on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Kenya. It was halted in February 2018 after Kenyan-based project developers Kleen Hydro Limited were unable to raise additional financing to continue construction. At the time, it was one of the country’s most advanced mini-hydro projects under development.

Building work is expected to start again in February 2019, subject to the developers finalising the pre-construction development phase of the project and meeting a number of conditions precedent. The project will create 50-70 local jobs during construction and 2 permanent positions once completed, and will improve clean energy access for more than 175,000 people.

The 200m2 plant will utilise two high-efficiency 3MW Francis turbines and is located 2.5km from a 33/11kv substation. To connect the plant to the grid will require the upgrade and extension of an existing 11kV line that runs from the substation to a site 800m from the power station.

A 20-year power purchase agreement has been signed with offtaker Kenya Power.

The project’s success will provide the sponsors with much-needed completion experience and help them attract senior debt for its other pipeline projects, while also demonstrating how – with REPP’s assistance – local developers can build and operate small-scale schemes that support Kenya’s renewable energy goals.

Funding structure

Contracted date: 15 April 2018
Lending type: Bridging construction loan; technical assistance loan
REPP funding: USD $200k (development loan), potentially followed up with USD $8.2m (construction loan)