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Kenya to intensify search for further geothermal wells

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Olkaria, Kenya – October 08: Steam-Tubes at environmentally friendly and renewable energy generation in the KenGen or Kenya General Energy Olkaria geothermal power station II (two) in Hells´s Gate National Park on October 08, 2017 in Olkaria, Kenya. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)

Kenya said on Wednesday it will intensify the search for more geothermal energy resources with continuing exploration in 11 fields and the drilling of three new geothermal wells is expected to help generate a further 760 MW of electricity, energy ministry officials said on Wednesday.

Jared Otieno, managing director of the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), said detailed surface exploration was continuing in the 11 geothermal fields while the construction of the power plant in another geothermal field in Nakuru County in Central Kenya, was expected to inject 600 MW.

Kenya currently has an installed geothermal power generation capacity of 870 MW. The discovery of another geothermal field in Suswa, in the larger Rift Valley region, also raises hope for the production of another 760 MW of electricity from the geothermal field, Otieno said.

Charles Keter, Cabinet Secretary of the Energy Ministry, said geothermal energy currently contributes to 40 percent of the country’s total electric power generation.

The Kenyan officials spoke during an African Ministerial meeting organized jointly by the UN Environment(UNEP), the Ministry of Energy, and several state companies involved in the generation of geothermal energy in Kenya and around Africa.

The ministers and geothermal energy experts attending the virtual Eighth African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C8), discussed the exchange of information on the development of the geothermal sector in their countries and how to advance mutual cooperation between the government agencies.

Keter said the conference created a good opportunity for the exchange of information on the development of the geothermal sector in Africa.

He said the development of geothermal energy required collaboration amongst the various governments in Africa.

During the meeting, experts called for the reform of the institutions created nationally to work towards building clean energy infrastructure from geothermal sources within various African countries.

Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary at the Kenyan Energy Ministry, said the conference which sought to improve investments in the energy sector was important for Kenya, which has been working with its neighboring countries seeking to advance their geothermal sector potential.

“Our organizations involved in the energy sector have been busy in other countries to support the development of the sector in Djibouti and Ethiopia, trying to offer support in the drilling of wells,” Njoroge said.

Organizations and government agencies involved in geothermal power production are participating at the 8th African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C8).

The meeting under the theme “Seize the Moment and Invest in Geothermal Resources for Sustainable Development” is looking into more sustainable means of harnessing the geothermal power as well as using its steam power resources as a means to agricultural empowerment.

According to Otieno, geothermal power fields also have the potential to create opportunities for fish farming as well as crop farming using the steam power which is cooled off after the drilled well’s steam has been directed to generate the electricity at the geothermal production plants.

“We have seen the growth of geothermal power in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya. The countries in the region are united and committed in harnessing the geothermal development process,” said Abel Rotich, who is currently in charge of the Geothermal Association of Kenya.

Kenya’s largest geothermal production plant is run by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN), which operates the Ol-Karia geothermal energy project in Nakuru, Central Kenya.

The conference bringing together experts from the geothermal development community, former heads of state and members of geothermal development associations from around Africa, Europe and Asia, aims to spur the development of nearly 20,000 MW of geothermal power from Africa

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