Power Africa programme secures Kenyan renewable energy project development firm, Akiira One Ltd. (AOL) a grant of $950 000 for a 40MW geothermal energy project
GreenMax Capital Advisors announced in a release that it has secured a $950,000 grant to support the final stages of project preparation for a 40MW geothermal energy project for Akiira One Ltd (AOL) in Kenya. The grant is from the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Africa Clean Energy Facility (ACEF), one of the Power Africa programmes sponsored by the US Government.
The planned project will be constructed on land concessioned to AOL adjacent to the Olkaria geothermal fields, less than 100km outside of Nairobi. A first phase of 40MW will be followed by additional generation capacity totalling 140MW.
The grant will pay for a highly qualified set of international and Kenyan consultants to perform the final technical and legal work necessary to commence drilling for the geothermal resource early next year.
Robert Bunyi CEO of AOL stated, “This grant is a major step in the implementation of the first fully commercially developed geothermal project in Kenya. While previous projects have benefited from early stage exploration and drilling funded by government and donors, AOL has tackled the steam field development with all its high risks, from scratch, entirely with private capital. Therefore the support of the US Government’s OPIC ACEF programme is enormously valuable as a partnership with us to allow our risk capital to stretch a bit further and enable drilling to commence on schedule. GreenMax’s support has been invaluable in building our cooperation with OPIC and in finally securing the grant funding.”
AOL is one of the first clean energy project developers in Kenya to obtain a concession for preparation of a geothermal energy project without government financial support in early stage exploration. The company, which is solely dedicated to development of the geothermal project at Akiira, was first established by a Kenyan clean energy development company as a joint venture with the US geothermal developer Ram Energy Inc.
Hezy Ram, CEO of Ram Energy Inc., a Wyoming based geothermal energy developer which is one of the founding shareholders of AOL, remarked, “We are grateful for the support of OPIC and the aggressive role that our government is playing to promote investment by American companies like ours in Africa’s clean energy sector. We believe Kenya offers strong opportunities for private investment in geothermal energy and a partnership with OPIC allows us to more effectively manage risks.”
Clifford J. Aron, President of GreenMax said, “We are delighted to be able to successfully arrange support for AOL through one of the cornerstone programs of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. The US Government is providing valuable impetus for clean energy development in the power hungry nations of Sub Saharan Africa. GreenMax is proud to play a small role in helping Kenya meet its ambitious energy sector development goals.”
US OPIC is the development finance arm of the US Government, providing financing and political risk insurance for projects that promote local economic development with substantial US private sector involvement. The Africa Clean Energy Facility (ACEF), as one of the affiliated programmes of Power Africa, provides grants to support the soft costs for preparation of renewable energy projects throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Managed jointly by the US Department of State, OPIC and the US Trade & Development Agency, the ACEF serves in part to help projects achieve bankability for eventual financing by OPIC.
Photo source: Geothermal Resource Council