Expansion of Kenya’s geothermal energy project gets $105m financing

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) have earmarked US$25 million and US$80 million financing respectively, to develop a geothermal steam field at Menengai in Kenya, officials said on November 23, 2011.

“A project to develop a geothermal steam field at Menengai, Kenya got the go-ahead on November 17, 2011 from the governing body of the Scaling Up of Renewable Energy Programme in Low Income Countries (SREP), a programme coming under the Climate Investment Fund (CIF). It approved $25 million in grants and concessional loans, which will be channelled through the African Development Bank (AfDB) along with the AfDB’s own co-financing of $80 million,” AfDB said on its website.

The project, estimated to cost $746 million, according to officials, aims to develop the Menengai geothermal steam field, capable of generating 400 MW of power to be produced by the private sector as Independent Power Producers (IPP).

According to the Bank, expected outcomes of the project include an increase in national electrification rates equivalent to 26% of the current total installed generation capacity and to reduce emissions of almost two million tons of CO2 annually.

With Kenya’s current electrification rate at 15%, AfBD says the project has an estimated potential of 7,000 megawatts (MW).

The Kenyan government has indicated plans to increase geothermal generation capacity from the current 198 MW to 1,700 MW by 2020 and 5,530 MW by 2031.

By Ekow Quandzie

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