Published on November 9th, 2012 | by Jake Richardson2
5000 MW Of Geothermal For Kenya By 2030?
Kenya has set an ambitious goal of 5,000 MW of geothermal by 2030. First up along the path is achieving 560 MW by 2016, which is just about three years away. The Great Rift Valley is the intended location and the cost of this portion of the overall effort will be about $12 billion.
If this geothermal construction zeal appears less than impressive it should be pointed out that about 75% of Kenyans don’t have consistent access to electricity. Presumably, this means they also don’t have regular access to the Internet, which means they are living without important and sometimes critical information. Renewable sources of energy would be most welcome and geothermal energy is not intermittent like solar and wind.
There is an estimated 10,000 MW of geothermal potential in the Rift Valley within Kenya. In some areas, wood is still burned for cooking fires and literacy rates are very low. Access to electricity could help break the cycle of poverty because it would allow students to be able to read at night and do their homework. Without education, job opportunities are very limited and generations experience crushing poverty. About 1.5 million people in Kenya are living with HIV, and education is one of the chief weapons against the spread of this disease.
Drought in Kenya has reduced river flows and hydropower output. It isn’t clear exactly what role climate change has had in the droughts, but geothermal energy could fill gaps left by waning hydropower should the drought conditions continue.
Climate change could wreak havoc on Kenya’s economy, which is dependent in part on agriculture and tourism, because drought conditions would wipe out crops and wildlife.
Image Credit: Brian Rutere, Wiki Commons