Published on March 2nd, 2015 | by Jake Richardson7
$24 Million A Month Saved By Geothermal In Kenya
March 2nd, 2015 by Jake Richardson
Electricity produced by geothermal plants in Kenya has reduced other fuel costs by about $24 million a month. Geothermal now provides slightly over half of Kenya’s electricity.
Kenya Electricity Generating Co. added two new units to the Olkaria I geothermal plants with about 140 MW of capacity. KenGen is Kenya’s biggest electricity producer and it is 70% state-owned.
Kenya could install another 5,000 MW by 2017 to the capacity it has now, which is 1,664 MW.
Geothermal is sort of the overlooked sibling to solar and wind power, but it doesn’t have the intermittency problem, and Kenya has an abundance of geothermal resources. It has been estimated that about 10,000 MW of geothermal potential is available in the Kenyan Rift Valley. About 75% of Kenyans don’t have regular access to electricity, so it is of great importance to increase production. Having such a huge geothermal potential is important, because it a domestic natural resource that is both clean and renewable.
Kenya gets about 30-40% of its electricity from hydropower, so with the geothermal, it is possible to envision a time when all, or almost all, of the country’s electricity is produced by renewable sources.
Of course, hydropower depends upon there being enough regular rain. If a drought occurs, this form of energy decreases. Climate change apparently is intensifying some weather patterns, so it does appear prudent to switch to more geothermal to avoid lower hydropower out should there be more droughts and longer ones.