Geothermal Firm on Course to Supply 280 MW
Mar 15, 2010 - The Nation/All Africa Global Media
Kenya's Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is drilling for steam which will be used to generate an additional 280 MW to the national grid, the east African nation's energy minister said on Monday.
Kiraitu Murungi said the power will be supplied by KenGen, the country's main power generator, as part of the government's aim of raising the share of geothermal's contribution to electricity from 167 MW.
"Within a few months of its inception, GDC has begun drilling in Olkaria Domes, to supply steam to KenGen for the generation of an additional 280 MW," he told a regional meeting to discuss geothermal, referring to a site in the Rift Valley.
Patrick Nyoike, the ministry's top official, said the power would be available to the grid in the next two to three years.
Murungi said the geothermal firm was also working on other sites in Kenya's vast Rift Valley region where potential for geothermal is estimated at more than 7,000 MW.
Although geothermal requires huge initial investments, it is considered as a cheaper option to hydropower over the long run and it is also not affected by drought.
Kenya is just emerging from a prolonged drought which reduced electricity generation from dams causing rationing driving up costs as the country switched to expensive thermal power.
The geothermal push is being funded by the government and an array of international organisations.