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KTDA commissions hydro power plant to cut tea production cost

24 August 2015, 10:47 Joseph Njung'eh

Nairobi - Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has commissioned a hydro power project at Mathioya, Murang’a County.

The project, North Mathioya Small Hydro Power, will cut cost of energy in tea production at four local factories including Githambo, Kanyanyaini, Kiiru and Gatunguru tea factories.

Speaking during the commissioning, the project’s supervising engineer, Patrick Ndumia said once completed in November 2016 the plant will be connected to the national grid.

“The hydro power will produce 28 Mega Watts of power per hour. The four factories will use half of it and sell the other half to the national grid,” said Ndumia.

The project is worth KES 2 billion, with Ndumia explaining that it would bring down the cost of producing tea by 30 percent.

KTDA chairman, Peter Kanyago said the mini-hydro power plant will see farmers saving KES 2 in every kilogram of green tea processed in the factories.

Read Also: GES attracts investor to install 100MW wind power project in Kenya

He said the agency is undertaking four other similar projects in lower Nyamindi, south Mara, Iraru and Gura in Meru, Kirinyaga and Nyeri Counties and all will be complete by December, 2016.

“We have commissioned four Hydro power projects which are in line with KTDA’s strategic investment to ensure tea-growing regions have access to alternative renewable forms of energy that will reduce operational costs in factories and create a new income stream for tea farmers,” said Kanyago.

The projects, Kanyago said, will diversify factories income streams by selling extra power to the national grid.

He noted that tea factories pay between KES 30 million and KES 65 million annually for their electricity bills.

“Energy constitutes one of the biggest costs of production in factories, accounting for more than 30 percent of factory overheads. Many factories use industrial fuel and wood fuel to run machineries. They cause pollution to the environment,” Kanyago explained.

The capital of starting the projects was contributed by tea farmers affiliated to the benefiting factories.

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