Drilling works at Akiira geothermal site in Rift Valley, Kenya set to resume

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Drilling works at the Akiira geothermal site in Rift Valley, Kenya is set to resume. This is after the locals gave Akiira Geothermal Company a go ahead to continue with the works. The concession is operated by a consortium of Centum Investments Company, Marine Power Generation, DI Frontier Energy Carbon Fund and Ram Energy.

The geothermal energy company has reached an agreement with local residents after months of blockades. Local communities, particularly those in Kedong and Lapland in Naivasha, were concerned about the environmental impacts of geothermal installations.

To gain the support of the protesters, Akiira Geothermal Company organised a consultative meeting at which the environmental audit report of the project was presented. The independent power producer (IPP) also committed to invest in social issues through the construction of water points and support for the education of young people in the surrounding communities.

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Funding mobilisation

Akiira Geothermal Company is now free to focus on mobilising funding for the development of its clean energy project. At the height of the crisis with local people, IPP lost the support of the European Investment Bank (EIB). The European Union (EU) development finance institution decided in October 2019 to cancel its US $190m loan for the implementation of the project.

Officially, the EIB justified the cancellation of its funding by the lack of progress in Akiira Geothermal Company’s expansion activities. Preliminary explorations for the first phase of the project were not successful, despite the drilling of two geothermal wells. However, the company soon launched new exploratory drilling at the project site.