7 August 2013 – “In Kenya alone, there is a potential of about 10,000 MW of electric power from geothermal sources,” Dr Nicholas Mariita, chief geothermal training officer at Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), says.
According to KenGen, state-owned and independent power producer (IPP) geothermal plants currently contribute some 202 MW of Kenya’s annual 1,597 MW power generation. According to Mariita, “to attain Vision 2030, Kenya needs to increase electrical production from 1,597 MW to around 17,760 MW to satisfy the projected power peak demand of 15,000 MW in 2030. This demands a 1,200% expansion of power generation, of which, approximately 7,000 MW will come from geothermal resources. Thus, huge capacity development is required to increase geothermal power generation.”
The Great Rift Valley, running from Middle East to Mozambique (through Ethiopia, north and South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi) has a great potential for geothermal energy, particularly in east Africa, where geothermal manifestations such as hot springs, fumaroles and geysers are prevalent.
Says Mariita, “The countries of the East African Rift System (EARS) have a considerable geothermal energy potential. Only Kenya has made significant efforts to harness this potential so far. To develop this resource, it has developed a geothermal development act of parliament. Most countries of the EARS have no strategy and inadequate legislative and regulatory frameworks for the development of the geothermal subsector. Existing regional initiatives are mostly focusing on exploration and site/project-specific activities such as (pre-) feasibility studies, project implementation planning, and negotiation of power purchase agreements.”
Mariita is one of the speakers at the upcoming East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi in September 2013 which will feature a Geothermal Power Summit as part of the event.