Written by: Eng. Francis X. Makhanu - Chief Engineer, Masinga Power Station
Masinga power station was conceived in 1960’s immediately after the commissioning of Kindaruma power station in 1968. By the time Kamburu power station was being commissioned in 1974, Tana River Development Authority TRDA, under finance provided by the United Kingdom Ministry of Overseas Development commissioned Watermeyer Legge Piesold & Uhlmann (WLPU) consultants to investigate a long term Tana basin development strategy within the content of alternative plans for public water supply, irrigation and hydropower. [[email protected] Proc. Instn Civ.Engrs, Part 1, 76 Nov 999 – 1025].
Full feasibility studies were started in mid 1975 and they confirmed the viability of an upper reservoir for the Seven Forks cascade hydropower complex with a potential of about eleven power plants namely Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma, Kiambere, Karura, Mutonga, Low grand Falls, Usheni, Adamsons Falls, and Kora. The first five were developed between 1968 and 1988 while the remaining six are awaiting implementation.
The actual site of the Masinga plant was selected at about 150km from Nairobi via Nairobi – Thika – Kangonde –Embu highway and about 70km from Embu town.
The cost of the plant was about USD172 million (KShs 1.24 billion) and the project took seven years from feasibility studies to construction. The ground breaking for the construction work was done on 2nd March 1978 and commissioning of the plant on 2nd December 1981.
1. Date of commissioning – 2/12/1981
2. Installed capacity – 2 units x 20MW each
3. Manufacturer of Turbines – Escher Wyss (Germany)
4. Manufacturer of Generators – ABB (Asea Brown Boveri)
5. Estimated cost of development – KShs.1.5 billion (USD 172 million)
6. Transmission of power is at 132KV to Kamburu substation and Mt. Kenya
7. Reservoir capacity (F.S.L) – 1560 million cubic metres
8. Surface area of reservoir – 120 sq. km at F.S.L
9. Dam wall height – 60m
10.Dam wall length – 2.2km
11.Length of reservoir – about 45km to Tana bridge
12.Flow rates of the machines – 45.9 cubic metres per second
13.Catchment area –7354 sq.km
14.Maximum generation – 350Gwh/yr
15.Type of machines – Kaplan turbines
16.Design head – 49m
17.Speed – 300RPM
Local Activities Around the Station
Masinga Power plant co-operates with TARDA through bthe Masinga Dam Resort in hosting water sports at the Masinga reservoir (Canoeing & Kayak) every year since year 2006
Provision of free water to the local community at Ngetani market, dispensary and Kathiani Primary school.
Allowing schools and other institutions to visit the plant for educational reasons.
Co-operating with Masinga Dam Resort in encouraging local tourism since the hotel has accommodation facilities.
Liaising with the Seven Forks Environmental Officer in planting trees in the surrounding every year. Seedlings are also offered to neighbours and schools e.g. Kathiani primary school – 1200 seedlings on 20/11/07.
Operating a nursery school for the families of staff and neighbours.
Operating a shop, a butchery, a small social hall and a mini – bar for staff and local community.
Regularly maintaining the 12Km tarmac access road from Kaewa to Masinga power plant.
Bright local pupils and students in the neighborhood have access to company scholarships for secondary and university education.
KenGen has built six water kiosks for the neighbours between Masinga and Kaewa to access water from the National Water Corporation with the help of the Seven Forks Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) committee. The Masinga team provided logistical support in the projects.
Projects in Progress
i) The raising of the Masinga dam wall by 1.5m is in the second phase of study after phase one was completed and approved. This will increase in the storage capacity for the 7-Forks cascade by about 12% and energy in the cascade by about 90 Gigawatt hours per year. [Norplan report of June, 2007]. Expected completion time is 2008 and the estimated cost is USD 12 million.
ii) The plant is very reliable and has generated 4,347,976,000 Kwh at 30/11/2007 with an average availability of 96% over the last 26 years.
Prepared by Eng Elijah Kibathi – chief engineer Kindaruma power station
Kindaruma power station was the 1st major power station in independent Kenya. It was commissioned in 1968. It has two installed vertical Kaplan turbines and a space has been developed for a third unit. Power from Kindaruma is transmitted directly to Nairobi or to Kamburu via a 132KV substation.
Kindaruma is a surface power station and so visitors have the luxury of observing flow of water out of the tailrace. The spillway has three vertical gates and the dam is equipped with an emergency spillway in case of excessively high floods.
The station is situated 170 km north east of Nairobi.
1. Installed capacity - 2 x 20MW
2. Turbine manufacturer - BOVING (now GE Hydro)
3. Generator manufacturer - Associated Electric Industries
4. Commissioning date -1968
5. Rated machine flow - 65 cubic metres per second
6. Rated net head - 32m
7. Machine speed - 214.3 rpm
8. Dam type - Rock and earth fill
9. Dam height - 24 metres
10. Dam crest length - 549 metres
11. Reservoir area - 2.4 sq km
12. Reservoir length -5 km
13. Gross storage - 16 million cubic metres (has reduced to 11 million cubic metres due to siltation)
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS
(a)Replacement of the governors for both units
-The two governors have already been manufactured and Factory acceptance test were carried out between 3rd and 14th December 2007. The works to install the new governors is scheduled for mid 2008.
(b)Third unit and rehabilitation of units 1 & 2
- M/S Scott Wilson have been engaged as the consultant for these works. They are presently gathering the necessary information and preparing the tender documents.
LOCAL ACTIVITIES AROUND THE STATION
(a) Provision of free treated water to the local communities at both Kenyatta camp and the station
(b) Regularly maintaining the 14 km tarmac road from the main road junction to the power station.
(c) Erection of shades outside the station and Kenyatta camp to serve staff and local community when they are waiting for transport.
(d) Allowing schools, learning institutions and organized groups to visit the station.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANT
Written by: Reuben M. Wekesa – Assistant Station Engineer, Kamburu Power Station
Kamburu power station was the 2nd major power station in independent Kenya after Kindaruma power station. It was commissioned in 1974. It has three installed vertical Francis turbines. The spillway has three radial gates and one flap gate.
Full feasibility studies were started in mid 1960’s and they confirmed the viability of an upper reservoir for the Seven Forks cascade hydropower complex with a potential of about eleven power plants namely Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma, Kiambere, Karura, Mutonga, Low grand Falls, Usheni, Adamsons Falls, and Kora. The first five were developed between 1968 and 1988 while the remaining six are awaiting implementation.
The actual site of the Kamburu plant was selected at about 160km from Nairobi via Nairobi – Thika – Kangonde –Embu highway and about 50km from Embu town.
The cost of the plant was about USD 47 million (KShs. 344 million) and the project took seven years from feasibility studies to construction. The ground breaking for the construction work was done on 29th June 1971 and commissioning of the plant on 5th July 1974.
1. Date of commissioning – 5/7/1974
2. Installed capacity – 3 units x 31.4MW each
3. Manufacturer of Turbines – Litostroj (Yugoslavia)
4. Manufacturer of Generators – Rade Koncar (Yugoslavia)
5. Estimated cost of development – KShs.344 million (USD 47 million)
6. Transmission of power is at 132KV to Kindaruma, Gitaru and Masinga substation and Mt. Kenya. 132KV line from the substation to 220KV Substation then to Dandora
7. Reservoir capacity (F.S.L) – 123 million cubic metres
8. Surface area of reservoir – 60 sq. km at F.S.L [1,500 h.a]
9. Dam wall height – 56m
10. Dam wall length – 0.9km
11. Length of reservoir – 45.0 cubic metres per second
12. Catchment area – 7354 sq.km
13. Maximum generation – 467Gwh/yr
14. Type of machines – Francis turbines
15. Design head – 71m
16. Speed – 273RPM
Local Activities Around the Station
• Provision of free water to the surrounding communities. There is a tap at the main gate where the local access clean treated water.
• Allowing schools and other institutions to visit the plant for educational reasons.
• Liaising with the Seven Forks Environmental Officer in planting trees in the surrounding every year. Seedlings are also offered to neighbors and schools e.g. Machang’a primary and secondary schools.
• Operating a shop, a butchery, a small social hall and a mini – bar for staff and local community.
• Regularly maintaining the 15Km tarmac access road from Machang’a to Kyaani.
• Bright local pupils and students in the neighborhood have access to company scholarships for secondary and university education.
Projects in Progress
The spillway remedial works is substantially complete by Heavy Engineering Company. The three gates No. 1, 2 and 3 are back to normal operations. Access footpath was resurfaced and installation of joints sealants completed. Out standing work is installation of stop logs and lifting beam guide shoes. The shoes have been fabricated and delivered on site for final installation. The estimated cost is Kshs. 30 million.
The plant is very reliable and has generated 12,464,648,314 Kwh at 30/11/2007 with an average availability of 96% over the last 33 years.
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