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Kenya’s geothermal investments promote green energy

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company [KenGen] unmatched track record in harnessing geothermal power through continuous investments in exploration works has placed Kenya as a key leading hub in clean energy use.

According to KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano, geothermal power energy produced from its Olkaria wells and other active sources currently accounts for up to 50 per cent of electricity consumed by Kenyans daily.

Miano said the company has successfully connected to the national grid the new 83MeggaWatt [MW] Olkaria one [unit 6] bringing the firm total geothermal energy contribution to 987MW of electricity.

The commissioning of the new plant follows the plans by the company to upgrade the 2.5 MW Eburru wellhead plant in Gilgil to achieve up to 25MW capacity of electricity after successful feasibility studies.

Addressing delegates during the two- day Sustainable Energy Conferences in Olkaria Naivasha, Miano said Kenya is providing a model to the world on how clean energy technologies can meet the future energy needs.

Miano said the country’s geothermal potential stands at 10,000MW of electricity and the company is upscaling its efforts to harness the untapped power to drive sustainable energy developments, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprints.

According to data from the company, KenGen has a total installed generation capacity of 1,818MW of electricity, of which 86 per cent is drawn from green sources, geothermal, hydro, thermal and wind all through years in exploration and development.

On the rising cost of power in the country, Miano said the company is reviewing its systems to ensure optimal operations which will guide the immediate interventions it will provide to lower the costs.

She said clean and renewable energy sources have taken centre stage on how countries can produce and consume energy to drive their developments sustainably, adding that fossil fuels hold no future in powering much needed economic growth.

The Director said KenGen is also driving Kenya’s Climate Change Agenda by leading initiatives that will reduce Greenhouses Gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and global effort to keep warming below 1.5 degrees.

On this front, Miano said the company is currently implementing six Clean Development Mechanisms [CDM] projects which offset a cumulative 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

The registered projects include the Olkaria II geothermal expansion, redevelopment of Tana Hydro power station, Optimization of Kiambere Hydro Power, Olkaria IV and I [units 4 and 5] geothermal and the Ngong wind.

Miano was glad to note these projects have earned KenGen a cumulative 4,617,309 tonnes of carbon emissions credits by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC].

“These six projects aim to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030”, said Miano.

Last Year, KenGen marked a milestone as the first Public Service Agency to join the UN – backed global campaign dubbed Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees C to combat global warming.

Miano reiterated KenGen commitments to provide the expertise in exploration of geothermal energy to its African peers noting that the sector remains largely untapped, with a paltry 9 percent of energy generated from renewable sources as of 2020.

The director noted that by missing out on the benefits of local clean energy generation, African countries are exposed to high levels of price volatility and are denied full benefits from international agreements on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

By Erastus Gichohi and Calvin Osiemo

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