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Unep to set up Sh200m geothermal experts training hub in Nakuru

Geothermal Development Company plant in Menengai, Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Geothermal Development Company plant in Menengai, Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The UN plans to set up a Sh200 million Pan-African Geothermal Centre of excellence training hub in Nakuru Town.

United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) manager, in charge of energy at the Africa office in Nairobi Meseret Zemedkon said the centre would be opened by end of 2018.

Ms Zemedkon, who is one the steering committee members of the project, said the main aim of the centre is to fill in the skill gaps that exists in the continent.

“The Pan-African Geothermal Centre of excellence will be used to train skilled manpower to handle the massive geothermal resources in the continent and help the continent power its vision through clean energy,” she said.

Ms Zemedkon was speaking at the multi-billion shilling Menengai geothermal project in Nakuru on Saturday when she led members of the steering committee to tour the project.

The members are drawn from Rwanda, Burundi and African Union officials.

Other countries which will benefit from the project include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Comoros.

She said the initial cost of the project which is funded by the Unep, the Iceland Development Programme, African Union, Kenya and other partners in the energy sector will cost more than Sh200 million.

Ms Zemedkon said a skill gap analysis done in the region exposed a lack of critical expertise in the geothermal sector including scientists, engineers, geologists, and other skilled manpower.

“This centre will train all the required manpower at an affordable cost and member countries which have been spending billions of shillings to send their employees in Italy, New Zealand and the US among other countries will have a big saving in their training budget,” said Ms Zemedkon.