GDC, Empakaa get AU funds for geothermal wells

GDC
GDC

What you need to know:

  • State-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and private firm Empakaa Energy had sought funding support for drilling and infrastructure of wells in the country.
  • GRMF, set up in 2012 by the African Union Commission (AUC), said in a notice the two Kenyan firms alongside four others from Djibouti and Tanzania will get cumulative funding of $15.6 million (Sh1.7 billion).

Two Kenyan energy firms have been picked among finalists to receive funding to develop geothermal wells in Kenya by the African Union-backed Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility for East Africa (GRMF).

State-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and private firm Empakaa Energy had sought funding support for drilling and infrastructure of wells in the country.

GRMF, set up in 2012 by the African Union Commission (AUC), said in a notice the two Kenyan firms alongside four others from Djibouti and Tanzania will get cumulative funding of $15.6 million (Sh1.7 billion) to support their energy projects.

The Business Daily could not immediately establish the specific amounts allocated to the two Kenyan firms.

“The results of the 6th GRMF Application Round show the great development of the East African geothermal market and the increasing number of active market players," said Atef Marzouk, Acting Director AUC-Infrastructure and Energy Department.

"With more and more successfully implemented projects and a growing project pipeline, we are moving closer and closer to the goal of the programme: an increased usage of geothermal energy in East Africa. We are therefore also looking forward to a high level of participation in the seventh GRMF application round."

GRMF's key mandate is to encourage development of geothermal energy sources in East Africa by removing the high upfront costs associated with infrastructure development in greenfield projects and initial exploratory drilling in geothermal fields given that a geothermal well costs about Sh650 million to drill.

Kenya has a high geothermal resource potential of around 10,000 megawatts, with most of it in the Olkaria fields in Naivasha along the Rift Valley.

The country has pushed hard to harness its geothermal capabilities. This has seen it grow from generating just 45 megawatts of geothermal power in 1985 to the current installed geothermal capacity of 860 megawatts.

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