KENYA’S MARCH TOWARDS ‘GOING GREEN’ GETS MAJOR BOOST
The French Development Bank has just signed a major loan agreement worth nearly 60 million Euros with the Kenyan Geothermal Development Company to finance the purchase of drilling rigs and other equipment used to tap into the extensive geothermal potential in Kenya’s Rift Valley. The project, when complete, will produce at least 400 MW of ‘green energy’, and will cost nearly 900 million US Dollars at current prices to complete, but will also upon commissioning reduce the country’s carbon foot print substantially. The provision of affordable electricity to rural communities is high on Kenya’s agenda for the coming years to reduce the use of charcoal, which in turn depletes forests on a significant scale up to now and contributes to changing micro climates as well as to global warming.
The first 10 MW unit is already producing electricity near the Menengai Crater in Nakuru with two additional such units nearing completion it is understood. Kenya’s power generating company has projected that the country could produce as much as 5.000 MW from geothermal sources, which while expensive to install is relatively cheap to run and has a long lifespan. This will permit Kenya to progressively phase out thermal power generation using heavy fuel oil and diesel plants, reducing carbon emission and lowering tariff as the same time substantially, considering the present and future cost of crude oil.
One tourism source in Nairobi, when contacted overnight, was elated by the news saying that Kenya going green with the use of wind-power, solar power and geothermal power would assist greatly in keeping the destination at the forefront of eco-aware and eco-sensitive travelers wanting to see the Kenyan national parks and game reserves where nature was still intact.