Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cheap and renewable-Is geothermal the right solution for Kenya?

African countries are power hungry. Many people in Africa still lack access to electricity. Kenya, a country with 45 million people, still has two thirds of population without the access to electricity. Even country's capital, Nairoby, has frequent power cuts.

Is geothermal energy the right solution for Kenya - not only to provide stable supply for electricity but also to become the most important source of renewable energy in the country?

Africa's Great Rift Valley is definitely among the best areas in the world in terms of geothermal energy potential, and Kenya could be one of the countries to have great benefits from it.

In ideal scenario, Kenya could even become global geothermal leader because the potential is immense. There are several sites scattered throughout the Rift Valley which have an estimated potential of more than 10,000 megawatts.

Kenya already produces respectable 609 MW of geothermal power, which ranks it in the top ten geothermal power producers, at the eight place.

The country's geothermal power plant Okaria is the largest geothermal plant in Africa, located 75 miles northwest of Nairobi.

Hydropower is still the most important source of renewable energy in the country with the production of 820 MW in 2015. Hydropower is affected with droughts, that are becoming more frequent, and thus country must rely on other sources of energy.

Kenyan government sees geothermal energy as the perfect renewable energy source for years to come. The so called "Vision 2030" plan has its main aim in achieving 5,000 MW from geothermal energy in 2030 which would make geothermal energy primary energy source in the country and turn Kenya into one of the global geothermal energy leaders.