Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has received a Sh500 million ($5 million) grant from the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) to drill two wells in Baringo County.
The grant will be used to fund 40 per cent of the costs for drilling and testing at the Paka Geothermal Project, one of three geothermal prospects in the area. The others are Silali and Korosi.
About 20 per cent of the total costs will fund infrastructure development.
“The funding will go towards the cost of the exploration drilling programme for the Paka Geothermal Project in Baringo,” GDC managing director and chief executive Jared Othieno said on Wednesday.
GRMF is a risk mitigation facility set up in 2012 by the African Union Commission (AUC).
The other members of the facility include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ), the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU ITF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The GRMF’s key mandate is to encourage the development of geothermal energy sources in East Africa by removing the high upfront costs associated with infrastructure development in green-fields and initial exploratory drilling in geothermal fields.
GDC is looking to produce 1,065 megawatts by 2030 with the Paka project targeted to generate 100MW.
The agreement was signed by the AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, the National Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani and Mr Othieno.
GDC is the first public developer to sign the grant contract with AUC.
Under the agreement, GDC will drill two deep geothermal wells and upgrade the existing infrastructure to allow further development of the geothermal resource.
The Baringo-Silali Geothermal Project, consisting of the Silali, Paka and Korosi geothermal works, is situated about 25km north of Lake Baringo.
The East Africa rift system has a geothermal potential of 15,000MW – of which has Kenya boasts an estimated 10,000MW of that.
Currently, the country’s energy mix comprises geothermal (29 per cent), hydro (29 per cent), wind (12 per cent), solar and others (two per cent) and thermal (28 per cent).