New steam drilling plant in Nakuru to raise clean energy stock

GDC project in Menengai
A GDC project in Menengai, Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has announced plans to set up a new steam drilling plant in Nakuru in efforts to increase the country’s stock of renewable power.

The State-owned power firm has applied for approval from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) for the green light to prospect for fresh wells in the vast Menengai Crater.

GDC did not disclose the projected cost of the project — Menengai West Geothermal Drilling Project — adding that the specific locations to be explored and depth of the wells will depend on the funds available.

If approved, it will increase geothermal power to the national electricity grid that now stands at 3,341 gigawatt hours besides an anticipated reduction in the cost of power.

“GDC is proposing a geothermal exploration programme in Nakuru County. The project will involve drilling deep geothermal wells,” the State-owned firm said in its filings to the national environment watchdog.


The application comes months after GDC received a Sh1.3 billion grant from the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility to drill six wells in Baringo County that is projected to add 300MW of power to the national grid by 2030.

The State has in recent times stepped up production of renewable power like geothermal and wind, significantly cutting dependence on the expensive thermal power and spurring business. Official data by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) show that at end of last November, the share of thermal power in the national grid fell to 13.4 percent, the lowest in three years as government turns to more green energy sources.