16 March 2010 – As hydro-powered electricity becomes more unreliable in Kenya, authorities in the East African nation have stated that investment is needed for alternative energy projects.
Sh80 billion is required to produce 600MW of geothermal power over the next three years, and in order to achieve this, 100 wells across will see drilling in order to reach this capacity.
Geothermal Development Company is already drilling wells in Ol Karia to supply steam to KenGen to generate an additional 280 MW. The company is also exploring other sites in the Rift Valley which will be open for bidding by KenGen and independent power producers.
In 20 years, the State corporation expects to attain 4,000 MW from 1,100 wells and 12 rigs at a cost of Sh360 billion. The projects will be undertaken with support from development partners including Germany which has provided Sh7.5 billion to develop competency, the Government has said.
Of the amount, Sh1.2 billion will be used for facility development while the rest will finance drilling of the wells.
However, according to Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi, Eastern African countries should consolidate their geothermal resources if they are to stabilise power supply against the unpredictable hydro and thermal power.
Such resources are found along the East African rift system with a potential to produce 15,000 MW yet the region is still least connected with electricity.
Kenya is ahead of its peers in this with a potential of 7,000 MW from geothermal resources which currently yields a meagre 167 MW with 163 MW connected to the national grid.