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Kenya partners with AU and New Zealand to develop geothermal energy in Kenya

Kenya has signed a framework agreement with the African Union Commission and New Zealand to develop geothermal energy in the country. The agreement was signed between the state-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the African Union Commission.

Through the new partnership, Kenya will be supported by the New Zealand-Africa Geothermal Facility (NZ-AGF). This facility, jointly established by the African Union Commission and New Zealand, supports projects in countries with high geothermal potential including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Eritrea, Djibouti, Comoros, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Also Read: TGDC plans to produce 200MWe of geothermal energy by 2025

Developing exploitation of geothermal energy

The framework agreement signed will see GDC receive a grant of US $695,000 to further develop and diversify the application of natural heat from beneath the Rift Valley. GDC is exploiting geothermal energy at several sites in western Kenya. In Menengai, Baringo-Silali, Akiira and Olkaria, the state-owned company relies on Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to convert the underground heat into electricity.

Kenya is the most advanced country in East Africa in terms of exploiting its geothermal resources. Nairobi County wants to expand its installed electricity capacity and diversify the use of geothermal heat.

In these multiple projects, developers receive grants from the African Union’s Geothermal Risk Mitigation Fund (GRMF). The most recent grant, worth US $14.5m, was awarded to GDC for the Baringo-Silali geothermal project. This project will eventually produce 300 MWe of electricity from three steam plants. Experts believe that the Baringo-Silali geothermal site has the potential to generate up to 3,000MWe of electricity. GDC is working more on diversifying the applications of geothermal heat. This clean energy source can be used for milk pasteurisation, greenhouse agriculture or in industry

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Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

1 COMMENT

  1. I believe we have even a bigger potential for geothermal energy than we are currently utilizing. Much more investments need to made in this area as the world moves away from fossil fuel powered power plants that have adverse effects on environment.

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