Yokogawa Electric Corporation has completed the installation of an IoT system for the Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) that utilizes mobile communications and other technologies to perform integrated remote performance management at geothermal power stations I Additional Unit (AU), II, IV, and V of the Olkaria geothermal complex.
The project was carried out under an agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) that was finalized in January 2020, utilizing funding provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to UNIDO.
In Kenya, electricity consumption in 2021 tripled compared to the year 2000*2 in line with population growth and economic development, signaling a pressing need to secure a stable supply of energy. The country’s thermal power plants rely to a considerable extent on imported fuel oil, and renewable energy sources such as hydropower and solar power are affected by changing climatic conditions. The Kenya Republic has one of the world’s largest geothermal resources, so the Government of Kenya has turned attention to the use of geothermal power, which in addition to being a highly stable source of power also has the advantage of low CO2 emissions. Since 2000, Kenya has steadily increased capacity, and as of 2021 geothermal energy is the top source of energy in Kenya, accounting for over 40% of the country’s generation capacity.
At the Olkaria geothermal complex*4, the largest in Africa, KenGen currently operates geothermal power stations I, I AU, II, IV, and V. Station IV is the farthest from the complex’s administrative office, some 20 km away by road. Before the installation of Yokogawa’s IoT system, these geographically distributed power plants were all managed separately, and it was a challenge to take a comprehensive approach in managing their operations.
In line with the UNIDO requirements, Yokogawa developed and deployed an IoT system that allows data from stations I AU, II, IV, and V to be accessed from the complex’s administrative office, enabling the integrated remote performance management of power generation performance at these facilities. The system makes use of the company’s Exapilot operation efficiency improvement package and Exaquantum plant information management system. Yokogawa also provided training in the operation of this system to KenGen’s personnel. The IoT system makes it possible to centrally manage the performance of the power generation units at each power station, aids in determining the causes of detected problems, and provides information on the maintenance status of related equipment. Through integrated remote monitoring, automated root-cause analysis, and centralized history management, this ensures maintenance can be performed in a timely fashion, thereby maximizing power generation efficiency, and ensuring the stable supply of power. Altogether they have a capacity of about 575MW.