Geothermal exploration and development to continue in Kenya

Geothermal exploration and development to continue in Kenya Drilling rig at Menengai, Kenya (source: ARGeo)
Alexander Richter 7 Nov 2020

Kenya will intensify its search of geothermal resources for additional geothermal development in the country, so Kenyan industry representatives at the recent ARGeo conference.

In panel presentations at the opening of the 8th African Rift  Geothermal Conference, representatives from Kenya announced that the country will intensify the search for more geothermal energy resources as continuing exploration in 11 fields and the drilling of three new geothermal wells are 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 neighbouring 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 were participating this week in the 8th African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C8) held virtually with participants from Africa and around the world.

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.

Source: Xinhua