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Three private developers win geothermal exploration licenses in Kenya

View at Longonot, Kenya (source: flickr/ Kalense Kid, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 22 Nov 2011

Private developers, Africa Geothermal International Limited, WalAm Geopower Inc and Marine Power Generation have won licenses for geothermal development with a minimum capacity of 210 megawatts at sites in Longonot, Suswa and Akiira Ranch in Kenya.

Reported this week from Kenya, “Three new investors have won licences to tap the vast geothermal resources that will secure the country’s growing demand for electricity.

The three–Africa Geothermal International Limited, WalAm Geopower Inc and Marine Power Generation are to exploit a minimum capacity of 210 megawatts at Longonot, Suswa and Akiira Ranch sites which have been confirmed by the Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC). Steam exploitation has traditionally been around Olkaria, Menengai and Eburru areas.

“All the three companies are past the initial stages of surface exploration, having set the initial exploratory drilling sites.

Two of the companies have undertaken the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment studies while the third has initiated the process,” said Energy Assistant minister Mahmoud Mohammed as the opening of the geothermal conference in Nairobi.

Present geothermal prospects are at Olkaria , Menengai and Eburru but only about 202MW have so far been developed in Olkaria. This consists of KenGen ( 150MW) at Olkaria I and II, Power IV (48MW) and some four megawatt by Oserian Development Company, a flower firm for own use. The conference seeks to mobilise private international finance and multilateral finance and restructuring to raise budgetary resources required for harnessing the untapped 7,000MW potential in the country.

Recently, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s development finance institution gave Kenya $310 million (about Sh31 billion) to increase the generating capacity of the OrPower IV geothermal plant from 48 megawatts to 100 megawatts.”

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Source: Business Daily Africa