The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) has agreed a US$310mn loan with OrPower 4 to develop a geothermal power plant in Kenya.

OrPower 4, a subsidiary of US company Ormat Technologies, will use the loan to add up to 52 MW of generating capacity to the existing 48 MW Olkaria geothermal plant in Kenya’s Rift Valley, northwest of Nairobi.

The World Bank’s Miga is insuring US$134mn of the loan and will cover risks of transfer restriction, expropriation and war, and civil disturbance for up to 15 years.

This guarantee replaces an earlier Miga guarantee that covered investments into the first and second phases of the project. The new guarantee also covers an additional equity investment of US$110mn for phase three of the project.

“Doubling the capacity of this geothermal plant is an important step forward for Kenya’s economic growth, as well as for the global shift to a lower carbon economy,” says Opic president and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield.

“The fact that the project uses American technology to do so, and creates jobs in both the US and Kenya, makes it a win-win situation for all involved,” she adds.

Ormat Technologies designs, builds, owns and operates geothermal power plants in the US, Nicaragua, Kenya and Guatemala.