Kenya is the first African country to develop geothermal energy. It is diversifying from hydropower, which currently provides most of Kenya’s electricity, because its capacity has been seriously reduced by the worst drought since the 2011 – and further droughts are anticipated.
Geothermal energy comes from a mixture of water and steam under pressure drawn from nearly 2 km beneath the earth, in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley (above). It is providing reliable, cost-competitive, baseload power with a small carbon footprint.
Only 10% of Kenya’s population has electricity for their homes, so this project will help more people to have a better lifestyle. The energy is going to be used for household needs such as heated water and electricity.
There are concerns about the adverse effects of installing the pipeline infrastructure on vegetation, wildlife and the nomadic way of life
But as an employee of Kenya Electricity Generating Company said: “It is a clean energy, or green, because its carbon footprint on the environment is minimal”.
This is a state conceived and managed achievement – now part of
which focusses on reforms and development across 10 key sectors.
The state’s role is possibly deplored by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network , an alliance of organisations headed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a powerful accountancy firm (one of the Big 4) with a chequered history. They conducted a study which found that Kenya has ‘put little focus’ on involving the private sector in risk mitigation – insurance? – and flows of significant private sector finance.
Long may it be so.