Kenya To Get 1,000 MW Data Center Powered By Geothermal Energy

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Kenya is already in the top 10 countries when it comes to electricity generation plants powered by geothermal. Kenya has the 6th highest installed generation capacity and is inching closer to being one of the few countries in the world that have generation capacity from geothermal that is over 1,000 MW. Kenya’s current installed capacity from geothermal is 985 MW. According to THINK GEOENERGY, only New Zealand (1,042 MW), Turkiye (1,691 MW), Philippines (1,952 MW), Indonesia (2,418 MW), and the US (3,900 MW) have more generating capacity than Kenya.

With several projects at various stages of development, Kenya will soon cross the 1,000 MW mark. Kenya also has a lot more potential for generating electricity from its geothermal resources. This potential is estimated to be at least 10,000 MW. In some exciting news, it looks like the first 1,000 MW of that additional capacity will soon be realized through a proposed 1,000 MW data centre. Last week, Microsoft Corp. and G42 announced a comprehensive package of digital investments in Kenya, as part of an initiative with the Republic of Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy. In collaboration with Microsoft and other stakeholders, G42 will lead the arrangement of an initial investment of $1 billion for the various components outlined in the comprehensive package. One of the Kenyan investment priorities is a state-of-the-art green data center that will be built by G42 and its partners to run Microsoft Azure in a new East Africa Cloud Region.

The initiative will include four additional pillars that will be pursued with local partners: (1) local-language AI model development and research; (2) an East Africa Innovation Lab coupled with broad AI digital skills training; (3) international and local connectivity investments; and (4) collaboration with the government of Kenya to support safe and secure cloud services across East Africa.

A fact sheet released by the White House as part of the Kenya State Visit to the United States last week highlighted several new areas of cooperation between the US and Kenya, including this Green Data Center for Cloud Services.

The White House said, “The government of Kenya and Microsoft announced they are joining a partnership that plans to construct a 1-gigawatt data center in Naivasha, Kenya. The data center will be run on Microsoft Azure cloud services and offer access to cloud-based applications and services to organizations and individuals in Kenya and East Africa — allowing the Government of Kenya to move its data and services to trusted vendors. The data center will be powered entirely by geothermal energy and will feature state-of-the-art water conservation technology to minimize water use.”

This is a very interesting project. As the world looks to shift towards more renewable electricity generation projects, places like Kenya that already have more than a 90% share of renewables as part of their electricity generation mix will start to look like more attractive investment destinations. Large off-takers such as big data centers present an opportunity to unlock Kenya’s potential in the geothermal sector. Other interesting potential areas that could be explored to make use of Kenya’s geothermal are to power electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen for ammonia for fertilizers, and making green steel using electric arc furnaces, among other areas.

I hope to see this data center project taking off in the near future.

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since.

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has 784 posts and counting. See all posts by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai