01 Jan 1970 News Energy

Financing from Italy Boosts Geothermal Development in Kenya

Nairobi, 15 May 2017- The Ambassador of Italy to Kenya, H.E. Mauro Massoni and the Deputy Regional Director, Africa Office of UN Environment, Mr. Frank Turyatunga today signed a partnership agreement to cement collaboration in geothermal resource exploration and development in Kenya.

The agreement signed today will mainly provide technical assistance, through UN Environment, to the two main players of geothermal exploration and development in Kenya: Kenyan Electricity Generation Company (Kengen) and the Geothermal Development Company (GDC).

The main purpose of this technical assistance is to accelerate the pace of geothermal resource development in Kenya including in Suswa, Eburru and Elementaita and Baringo in terms of both electricity production and direct use application in agriculture and industry sectors. Geothermal energy has various potential benefits and offers immense opportunity for sustainable growth and development of African economies.

The agreement will be implemented under the African Rift Geothermal Development Facility Programme (ARGeo) of UN Environment. Through the ARGeo programme, East African Rift countries are forging a collective strategy to develop this huge untapped resource.                            

“UN Environment is celebrating this milestone because it signifies that our partners, such as the Government of Italy (through the Italian Development Cooperation)appreciate our work and entrust us with resources to support member states, through our competency and in deliveringour organization’s mandate of “promoting the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of the sustainable development’ in the UN System,towards implementation of the agendas on Sustainable Development Goals, Africa Union Agenda 2063 as well as the Paris Agreement”, said Frank Turyatunga.

Kenya has made remarkable progress in generation and development of 653 Mega Watt from geothermal resource at the Olkaria and Eburru geothermal fields where about 105 Mega Watt is at the wellhead of the Menengai geothermal prospects for development. This demonstrates the matured infrastructural and institutional capacities in Kenya in terms of geothermal resource exploration and development. Other African countries can learn from its best practices and experiences.

African countries also recently agreed to set up the “Africa Geothermal of Excellence” to be hosted by the Government of Kenya.

UN Environment has reiterated its commitment to support the establishment of this Center of Excellence in collaboration with other partners, towards the objective of promoting sustainable geothermal development in Africa.

Note to Editors:

Italy is a major donor to the Environment Fund, in addition to funding projects under the UN Environment’s programme of work through sources such as the Global Environment Facility.

Kenya Electricity Power Generation Company main mandate is to generate electricity from all kind of energy resources including geothermal. The Company has an installed capacity of 1632 MW. Out of this, geothermal contributes 653 MW. The Company has pioneered the use of wellhead generators from which 81.1 MW is generated.  In addition to electricity generation, KenGen is also developing direct uses so as to maximize resource utilization. In pursuant of this objective, the Company established a geothermal spa at Olkaria geothermal field and has installed steam condensing units at Eburru for the local community.

Geothermal Development Company is 100% government owned and is mandated to mitigate upfront risks, reduce costs through infrastructural development, exploration of geothermal resources including exploratory, appraisal and production drilling. GDC is also mandated to develop human capacity and to support the Government of Kenya in fund mobilization. Main geothermal projects earmarked by the government include Suswa, Baringo, Silali, Olkaria, Menengai and Eburru. 

For more information, please contact: Meseret Zemedkun at: meseret.zemedkun@unep.org Tel. +254 (0) 7625634