Olsuswa Energy, the company owned by Kanu era tycoon Manga Mugwe, has received a grant totalling $980,000 (about Sh101.5 million) from the African Union Commission (AUC), towards the development of its Turkana geothermal power plant.
Mr Manga, the Olsuswa Energy director and the chairman of Mayfox Mining—currently prospecting for gold and other precious metals in Turkana—said in a statement the funds will go towards co-funding the development of the 140MW geothermal project.
Olsuswa Energy is seeking to construct a power plant over five to eight years for transmission into the national grid. The total cost of the project stands at $420 million (about Sh43.5 billion). AUC, through its Department of Infrastructure and Energy, and Olsuswa Energy signed the grant contract for financial support this week.
The funds will be used to conduct a surface study and infrastructure upgrade programme at the Barrier volcanic complex located in Turkana County.
The geothermal field is one of the prospects in the Rift Valley and is situated south of the lake. The area covers 136 square kilometres. It separates Lake Turkana from the Suguta Valley.
The project’s capital is expected to be in the form of debt from development banks and other institutions, according to Olsuswa Energy.
The energy firm earlier said it expected to begin exploration in the first quarter of last year with drilling to start this year.
On Thursday, it was not immediately clear whether the project which had earlier faced some headwinds, had resolved permit issues with the Turkana County government.
A Turkana County official had accused Olsuswa Energy of seeking to exploit geothermal resources without signing a memorandum of understanding with the county government, which stalled the project.
The company had earlier said the first phase of 70MW would start operating in 2022.