Capital Markets

Six firms seek AU funding to develop geothermal

geothermal

A KenGen geothermal well in Olkaria, Naivasha. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Six Kenyan energy firms have been shortlisted to receive funding to develop geothermal wells in Kenya by the AU- backed Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility for East Africa, (GRMF).
  • GRMF, set up in 2012 by the African Union Commission (AUC), said in a notice the six alongside 11 others from Tanzania, Djibouti, Uganda, Zambia, and Ethiopia will have their applications further evaluated ahead of possible funding.

Six Kenyan energy firms have been shortlisted to receive funding to develop geothermal wells in Kenya by the AU- backed Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility for East Africa, (GRMF).

GRMF, set up in 2012 by the African Union Commission (AUC), said in a notice the six alongside 11 others from Tanzania, Djibouti, Uganda, Zambia, and Ethiopia will have their applications further evaluated ahead of possible funding.

"The seventeen expressions of Interest (EoI) consisted of 10 surface studies and seven drilling programmes," said the Fund, which, however did not disclose the amount each firm is seeking.

"Eight projects included a request to support infrastructure upgrades. The EoI came from six countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia) and were submitted by private, as well as public entities."

Among the shortlisted include State- owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) which are seeking funding support for drilling and infrastructure of wells in Menengai and Eburru, both in Nakuru County.

Others are Savannah Renewable Energy which is seeking funding for a surface study in Turkana, Empakaa Energy to conduct studies in Emuruepoli in Suguta Valley and Sosian Energy for drilling support in Kenya Sosian, Menengai Highlands.

Marine Power Generation is seeking backing for drilling in Mt Margaret in Maai Mahiu.

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.

A geothermal well costs about Sh650 million to drill.

Kenya has a high geothermal resource potential of around 10,000 MW along the Rift Valley. The current installed geothermal capacity in Kenya is 860 MW, with most of it in the Olkaria fields in Naivasha.

Kenya has pushed hard to harness its geothermal capabilities, having grown from generating just 45 megawatts of geothermal power in 1985.

The rise of Kenya’s geothermal output to rank ninth in the world has helped reduce further electricity rates and expand access to electricity.