Germany has committed to offer both financial and technical support to Kenya to enable the country meet its target of achieving 100 percent transition to renewable energy by the year 2030.
Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz lauded Kenya for its strong leadership and investments in geothermal energy, noting that will go a long way in helping the country in its climate change adaptation plans.
Chancellor Scholz who was speaking during his visit to geothermal wells in Olkaria, Naivasha said Germany will continue to offer financial support to enable the government upgrade the old turbines in Olkaria some of which are several decades old in order to maximize on their potential.
The Germany Chancellor further said his government will support Kenya in establishing a green hydrogen economy which can be used in production of fertilizer crucial to the country`s food security strategy.
Geothermal power generation is a good source of hydrogen which is a crucial component in fertilizer production.
It`s worth noting the visit by the Germany Chancellor follows President William Ruto`s visit to Germany last month where the two countries resolved to step up cooperation on green hydrogen and improve the business environment to attract German investors to Kenya.
The two leaders voiced their concern about the effects of climate change on livelihoods, communities, and nations and emphasized the urgent need for intensive efforts to reverse the effects of climate change.
Speaking during the visit, Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mr. Davis Chirchir said Kenya was now producing 92 per cent green renewable energy out of the total energy produced in the country with the country set to retire the thermal (fossil) energy by 2030 as the country turns to 100 per cent by 2030.
The CS lauded the Germany support for the energy sector in the country where she is the largest investor in the green renewable energy.
Chirchir revealed that the Germany Government had funded the newest geothermal project at Silali in Baringo County at a cost of 80 million euros (about Ksh.12.2Billion) where five wells have been developed producing 45MW of power.
Germany Government had earlier advanced Kenya a 45 Million Euros (Sh.6.5 Billion) loan facility to Kenya for expansion of the Olkaria Geo-thermal power station in Naivasha.
“Geothermal energy is non-exhaustible unlike other forms of renewable energy like hydro, wind and solar which are affected by climate change,” Chirchir said.
He observed that due to this climate change, Kenya has just emerged from a severe drought which saw power production form the hydro sources which provide the country with 800 Megawatts (MW) of power (30 percent of the country`s power production capacity) to a mere 10 per cent but the Geothermal sources came in handy and helped stabilize power supply to the national grid, and an additional 200MW purchase from Ethiopia through Suswa line which runs on Germany technology.
Chirchir also noted that Kenya currently produces a total of 1,100mw of geothermal power which include 160mw from a concessioner and there is a further 450mw waiting to be harnessed to the national grid.
“We shall walk the journey together to harness our potential of nine Gigawatts (GW) which translates to 9,000MW of geo-thermal power which has already been mapped out since our country sits on the ring of fire and from this we can produce green ammonium, green hydrogen and fertilizers among others,” the CS said.
Research shows that hydrogen gas has also been used to fuel cars, airships and spaceships since the beginning of the 19th century and is a source of clean renewable energy.
Chirchir asked the Germany Government to consider increasing the period of power concessions from 25 years to between 30 to 40 years, saying this will help bring the cost of power down.
He noted that the government has connected nine million Kenyans to the electricity national grid as at the end of 2022 compared to the two million in the year 2002, marking a huge step in the last mile connectivity project.
Geothermal resources in Kenya are located within the Rift Valley with an estimated potential of between 7,000 MW to 9,000 MW spread over 14 prospective sites.
According to Data from the ministry of energy, Kenya’s current effective installed (grid connected) electricity capacity is about MW. Electricity supply is predominantly sourced from hydro and fossil fuel (thermal) sources. This generation energy mix comprises hydro at 838 MW, geothermal at 1,100MW, two per cent from biogas cogeneration, and wind at 437 MW and solar at 173 MW.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku