Developing a relationship of geothermal developers and indigenous groups in Kenya

Maasai and Maori meeting at Olkaria/ Kenya (source: Caitlin Smith, Senior Program Coordinator, U.S. Energy Association)
Alexander Richter 5 Feb 2018

Under a program by Power Africa, New Zealand Maori group together with Contact Energy has been sharing their best practice strategy on geothermal development and collaboration with state-owned KenGen and Maasai population in Olkaria, Kenya.

Reported from New Zealand, a group of Maoris has teamed up with NZ power utility Contact Energy to help the local Maasai in Kenya to get better deals with the power companies developing geothermal projects in Kenya.

We reported on the unique way of how New Zealand has managed to involve its indigenous population in geothermal development before. Kenya has struggled to provide similar support to the local population in proximity to the geothermal development in the country.

With similar indigenous culturual beliefs in geothermal activity, the U.S. pushed Power Africa initiative with the U.S. Energy Association and the Geothermal Energy Association did approach local Maori group Ngati Tahu to share their best practice strategies with Kenyan power company Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and representatives of the Maasai population.

Disagreements and struggles have created delays and cancellations of projects in Kenya and this is something that the New Zealand, U.S. and Kenyan efforts are trying to deal with.

Recently, so the article by NZ Herald, representatives by Contact Energy and Ngati Tahu came back from a second exchange to Kenya where they have been working with local communities of Maasai and KenGen to “support both parties in growing their relationship around the geothermal resource in Olkaria.”

Some further background on the story can be found via this article: “The Sacred Nature of Geothermal Energy – How Power Africa is Sharing Best Practices on Community Engagement Across Cultures and Continents” (Power Africa).

Source: NZ Herald