The African Union Commission (AUC) has said it will support geothermal exploration in Kenya currently being done by Akiira Geothermal Ltd. AU says it will offer US$ 2m to finance the exploration of steam energy in Kenya.
The AU signed a grant agreement with Akiira which is currently undertaking some drilling activities in Akiira Ranch south of Ol Karia geothermal fields in Naivasha, Kenya.
With the funds, Akiira will now be able to embark on the exploration project and proceed to the second stage of exploratory drilling works with an aim of finding at least 77MW of steam energy sufficient to drive the power plant for 25 years.
Akiira commenced on exploratory drilling in August 2015 and it is yet to outset on drilling its third geothermal well thanks to the funds from the AU. In the same year, Akiira signed a Power Purchase Agreement with Kenya Power and Lighting Co Ltd to supply base load power from a 70MW power plant that it will construct once exploratory drilling has been completed.
This initiative is part of the AU’s pledge to support the objectives of Africa’s infrastructure investment and it is also part of Akiira’s Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility that is intended to mitigate financial risks that early stage private sector developers bear when drilling in the search of geothermal steam.
According to a London based audit firm Ernst and Young (EY), Kenya is one of the leading countries in the world in investments in renewable energies like wind, solar, hydro, biomas and geothermal energy.
Akiira Geothermal Ltd is owned by a Danish company, Frontier Investment Management renewable energy Private Equity fund and Centum Investment a Nairobi Securities Exchange listed investment company.
However, two other shareholders, Marine Power Generation of Kenya and RAM Energy of the United States are the developer companies for the projects.