A local gold mining firm, Olsuswa Energy plans to invest KES42.8bn in building a geothermal power plant in Turkana County. Olsuswa Energy is a subsidiary of Mayfox Mining, a company that has been exploring gold and other precious minerals in Turkana. The 140MW plant will transmit power to the national grid as exploration works set for the first quarter of 2016.
The first transmission after the first phase of the 70MW is expected in the year 2022. The source of capital for the plant will be debt financing from development finance institutions such as Denmark’s DI Frontier Market Energy and Carbon Fund and Mayfox Capital LLP.
The energy firm will prospect at the Barrier Volcanic Complex, an area South of Lake Turkana where reconnaissance surveys by the British Geological Survey has shown signs of hydrothermal resources. The project will begin with the drilling of three vertical test wells, each going down to a depth of 3,000metres, and at an estimated cost of KES4.08bn.It is also eyeing a grant from the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF), a KES12.4bn fund managed by the African Union, the KfW Development Bank and the European Union.
Kenya is endowed with vast geothermal potential along the Rift Valley that transects the country from north to south. Exploration reveals that geothermal potential exceeds 4,000 MW and is capable of meeting all of Kenya’s electricity needs over the next 20 years. Thus, State owned electricity firm, KenGen in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum continues to carry out studies on prospects where geothermal power can be generated from high yield areas across the country. To this regard, KenGen plans to have additional Olkaria IV and V plants before the year ends.
Geothermal now accounts for 29 per cent of Kenya’s energy mix, up from the previous 13 per cent a few years ago, with government’s move to connect people to the national grid. Geothermal is the most stable source of energy and the government is investing in it greatly.