Carbon credits earned by Olkaria plant pays for new school in Kenya

Carbon credits earned by Olkaria plant pays for new school in Kenya School in Mathare, Kenya (source: flickr/ PolandMFA, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 8 Nov 2013

Carbon credits earned by KenGen for its Olkaria II geothermal expansion project, have now paid for a new school building for a Primary School near Olkaria, as well as for for water pans for livestock in the community.

Reported from Kenya in a blog post by the World Bank, the Olkaria II Geothermal Expansion Project  issued its first carbon credits on November 1, 2013. This makes it the first project in Kenya to earn certified greenhouse gas emission reductions under the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The credits were sold by KenGen to the World Bank’s Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF) and have now paid for a new school building for the Oloirowua Primary School in Suswa, 140 kilometers northeast of the Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. The school sits on the vast savannah near Hell’s Gate National Park, an area with substantial geothermal potential.

At the school, classes are being taught outdoors and kids sit under a few trees with notebooks in their laps. Their old and crumbling school will soon be replaced by a new building that will accommodate 200 students. Their faces light up when they talk about the new school.

KenGen received the carbon credits for investing in renewable energy that displaces dirtier sources such as coal in the national grid, sold then to the World Bank’s Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF). The fund pays KenGen a premium on the credits, but in return requires that part of the revenue stream from the credits is used for social co-benefits.

Each project supported by the fund has to implement a Community Benefit Plan, and in this case it included a primary school for the local community and construction of three new classrooms at the nearby Ngaambani Nursery School.

But that’s not all. It also includes the construction of a livestock water pan that helps some 500 people and 5,000 livestock access water every day. The plan also calls for the installation of a 10-kilometer long water pipeline extension to the Maiella community adjacent to the national park and to a community health center.

“It took seven years of preparation, including the project eligibility validation and the verification of the actual emission reductions generated during the first monitored period. But seeing the kids excited about writing on a table instead of hunched over under a tree, made the cumbersome auditing process worth it to me.”, so the author Patricia Marcos Huidobro of the World Bank.

Source: Blog at the World Bank