firms tap into
benefits of 'green' energy
the renewable energy has enabled the
company to save between 3 million and 4 million
dollars annually in the cost of electricity
REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT Ronald
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Geothermal
energy is a renewable source of energy which results from steam that
is trapped inside the earth crust.
steam contains Hydrogen Sulphide, Carbon dioxide, water and other
’s potential is estimated at 7,000 Megawatts out of which only 209
MW has been exploited.
that are close to the geothermal fields are now benefiting from this
renewable energy resource. Oserian Flowers is located on east
African rift system that is rich in geothermal resources.
firm, which is one of the largest horticultural establishments in
, exports over 400 million stems of roses annually.Most of the exports are destined to the
firm’s Geothermal Manager Fredrick Apollo said the firm has
invested over 12 million U.S. dollars in geothermal power plants
that produce over 3MW of power.
mini grid provides enough power to cover 98 percent of the
electricity needs with the rest coming from the national grid.
“One of the positive impacts of the running your power plant is
that there are no power blackouts common in
,” Apollo said.
to the firm, using the renewable energy has enabled the company to
save between 3 million and 4 million dollars annually in the cost of
has a huge impact on the production cost of flowers,” Apollo
told Xinhua in a recent interview in Naivasha. The cost of
electricity from geothermal is roughly 7 percent per Kilowatt
compared to 0.23 shillings charged by
’s electricity supplier.
is also planning to increase its geothermal electricity capacity and
sell the excess to
’s national grid.
innovation carried out by the firm is the heating of greenhouse
through pumping hot water via pipes at night as plants need heat in
order to achieve maximum growth.
plants are also grown through the hydroponic system, which
eliminates the need for using soil to deliver nutrients. However,
the firm uses crushed volcanic soil as a medium so that the plants
the plants receive necessary nutrients including fertilizers through
enables most of the water and nutrients to be recycled, as the
company is able to reduce the wastage of water and fertilizer as
plants only absorbs 40 percent of these resources,” he said.
order to enhance growth, the firm traps the carbon dioxide from the
geothermal steam, which is then injected via pipes to the
greenhouse. Plants require carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.
have experienced a 10 percent increase in crop production as a
result,” he said. The company also uses the steam to sterilize
and eliminate fungus from the water that is piped to the plants.
is a great cost saving measure as it eliminates the need for
fungicide,” he said. The company also maintains an integrated
pest management system that uses biological methods to control
Flowers said that the lifespan of the flowers are up to 10 years but
companies maintain them depending on the market demand.
Electricity Generating Company (Kengen) Olkaria Geothermal Project
Chief Consultancy and Research Officer Peketsa Mangi said that
geothermal power is one of the cheapest sources of energy.
is still a high electricity cost destination for investors and so
by tapping more geothermal power
can increase its competitiveness,” Mangi said. However, for the
green energy to be exploited, it requires huge upfront
United Nations have therefore developed a program to reduce the huge
initial investments required.
the African Rift Geothermal Development Facility (Argo) which is a
4.75 million U.S. dollar facility implemented by the United Nations
Environmental Program (UNEP), countries in region can more easily
access the green energy.
Regional Office of Africa Project Manager Meseret Zemedkun said that
UNEP encourages a holistic use of geothermal in order to achieve
the program, countries can mitigate the risks associated with
exploration of steam wells.
have already received assistance in surface exploration in order
to help target the most viable places to drill for geothermal
steam,” she said.
Geothermal Development Corporation General
Manager Dr Peter Omende said that the country least cost
power development plans calls for more electricity to be generated
from geothermal in order to reduce the cost of electricity.
sector firms that close to the geothermal fields resources are
therefore encouraged to develop power plants that use this green
energy in order to reduce their carbon footprint,” the general