Japan Seeking To Inject KSh 1.6 billion into Kenya's Geothermal Exploration

The state owned company will receive KSh 1.6 billion ($18 million) from JICA to support its capacity strengthening programme.

Olkaria Geothermal in Naivasha. The Japanese want to play a key role in Kenya’s plan to develop 5,000 MW of geothermal power.

Olkaria Geothermal in Naivasha. The Japanese want to play a key role in Kenya’s plan to develop 5,000 MW of geothermal power.

The Japanese want to play a key role in Kenya’s plan to develop 5,000 megawatts of geothermal electricity. Though the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan is seeking Kenya’s nod to allow it develop the country’s master plan on geothermal development.

Speaking in Nairobi on Friday at the signing of a grant to the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), JICA’s industrial development and public policy director-general Hidetoshi Irigaki said that Japan would also offer technical help to Kenya.

“This technical assistance will improve GDC’s capacity as well as enhance capacity to prepare economically and environmentally viable business plans,” said Mr Irigaki.

The state-owned company will receive KSh 1.6 billion ($18 million) from JICA to support its capacity strengthening programme.

Speaking at the same event, Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir said that Kenya is targeting to harness 25 per cent of the local geothermal resource through capacity building partnerships.

Cheapest source of electricity

“The government of Kenya requires more than 20,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030. A quarter of this requirement is expected to come from geothermal resources. To achieve this target, GDC requires continuous capacity building in terms of equipment and human resources to be able to deliver on its mandate,” said Mr Chirchir.

Currently, Kenya has 14 rigs working in different geothermal fields. The country requires 15 rigs and drilling continuously for the next 17 years in order to achieve the set target according to estimates from the Energy ministry.

While geothermal power has been argued as being among the cheapest sources of electricity, the resource is yet to be exploited to its full potential in Kenya.

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is currently undertaking a project to develop 280MW of geothermal power which is argued to be the single largest project in Africa.

Source: BDA