The Kenyan government on Monday pledged to intensify efforts on the production of green energy, noting that access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries must be prioritized for sustainable development.
Principal Secretary for energy and petroleum, Joseph Njoroge, said to signify the increase of growth in the industrial sector will, however, require developing countries to increase power generation to all levels, focus on exploitation of green energy sources and avail adequate energy intensive manufacturing.
“Kenya has had favorable policy and regulatory frameworks, which have been regularly reviewed to facilitate development of energy services,” Njoroge told Global Geothermal Alliance stakeholders meeting in Nairobi.
He added that the feed in tariffs policy, established in 2008, was reviewed in 2012 to facilitate generation of electricity for feeding to the grid from renewable energy sources.
“A number of regulations have also been gazetted and others under formulation which include solar PV, solar water heaters, energy management and standards and labels,” Njoroge said, adding that Kenya will continue to establish favorable policies and regulations to ensure a vibrant energy market.
“Currently the policy and the law are under review to align them with the Vision 2030, the new constitution and the global trends,” he added.
He noted that the government’s medium term plan under the 5,000 MW program is to develop 810 of geothermal energy by 2016 from the Menengai (460 MW), Bogoria-Silai (200MW) and Suswa geothermal fields (150MW) in northwest Kenya.
Kenya has just tested one of the biggest geothermal wells in the world located in the Olkaria Domes area. This 30MW well is the largest of its kind in Africa and among the top five in the world.
Njoroge said Kenya is actively participating in regional and international initiatives and programs to facilitate development of renewable energy that the country has several power transmission interconnection with Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Kenya is the eighth country in ranking of installed geothermal capacity and is endowed with vast indigenous renewable resources, including geothermal, wind, solar, small hydro and biomass.
Njoroge said that there has been advancement since Kenya started drilling geothermal energy, such as horizontal drilling instead of vertically which has helped reduce drilling costs.
He added that 583MW of installed energy is being produced, with the country still having a potential of an additional 5000 MW to the national grid in the next three years.
“Geothermal will account for 1646 MW, which is expected to result in reduction of electricity tariffs by about 40 percent,” Njoroge added.
Energy ministry chief geologist, John Omenge, said Kenya still faces challenges in the production of geothermal energy, especially with the heavy investment required upfront for drilling of geothermal wells, which may cost up to 5 million U.S. dollars and end up providing 5 MW steam equivalent.
“Access to geographical entities with inhabitants where they are directly involved is also difficult,” Omenge said, adding that this is why the local area residents where drilling take place need sensitization and education to be part and parcel of the development. Enditem