Kenya’s geothermal energy developer, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has just been given the task of carrying out geoscientific studies to find out if the Akiira geothermal project is viable. KenGen’s new contract involves collecting additional data for the project developer. KenGen plans to provide the first results of its field research by March 2020.
The Akiira geothermal project
Akiira geothermal project is being developed in the Olkaria region of western Kenya. The aim of the project is to produce 140MW by exploiting the heat from the subsoil of the rift valley. This project will be carried out in several phases, the first of which will allow the construction of a 70MW steam power plant.
On the ground, preliminary explorations for the first phase have not been successful, despite the two geothermal wells having been drilled. This situation is causing delays and raises doubts among the project partners. At the beginning of the third quarter of 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to cancel its loan of US $190m to Akiira Geothermal.
However, James Mworia, Managing Director of Centum Investments Company, recently confirmed that the field was rich in geothermal energy and that they had no doubt that the project will be successful.
The delay in this renewable energy project is also due to protests from locals, some of whom are occupying the geothermal site, demanding compensation before they vacate their land. The Akiira Geothermal project will require an investment of more than US $356m.
Akiira Geothermal is owned by a consortium consisting of Centum Investments Company, Marine Power Generation, DI Frontier Energy Carbon Fund (a Danish energy fund) and Ram Energy.