By Njoroge Kaburo
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
geothermal experts kicked off a two-day meeting in Nairobi on
Tuesday to review and assess the results of surface exploration
studies of the geothermal prospects in East Africa region.
The experts from Africa,
Europe, Iceland, New Zealand and North America will also learn
from best practices of geothermal resource exploration and
conceptual modeling based on the review and evaluation of the
results of surface exploration studies.
“The review of previous
geo-scientific studies revealed knowledge gaps that needed to
be resolved to enable accurate siting of exploratory wells,
and target sites for deep exploratory wells at Silali and
Tendaho,” UNEP said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
UNEP is providing technical
assistance in support of a detailed review and revised
conceptual model for both projects, and additionally provide
financial support to carry out further detailed surface
exploration studies at Dubti-Ayrobera at Tendaho.
The meeting, which is the
initiative of UNEP through the African Rift Geothermal
Development Facility (ARGeo) Project, will catalyze investments
to speed up development of geothermal energy in Kenya, Ethiopia
The statement said the
technical review meeting of the Silali and Tendaho projects in
Kenya and Ethiopia aims at optimizing the information and
quality of the conceptual model of the system that will allow
for accurate siting of exploratory wells that minimizes risks of
drilling of dry wells while increasing the chances of drilling
high productive wells.
For the Silali geothermal
scheme in Kenya, the meeting, the first of its kind and content
to be held in the region, is expected to fully develop a project
for enhanced integrated model, identify at least three
exploratory drilling sites, and provide a set of recommendations
for further development of Silali geothermal project.
Kenya has been facing
unreliable supply of electricity highlighted by frequent power
blackouts mainly blamed on higher demand than current installed
Even more worrying is the
electricity tariff which is second highest in East Africa and
analysts say harnessing power from geothermal is a capital
intensive and high risk venture, which has scared away most
A total of 120 wells will be
drilled for construction of phase 1 power plants which are set
to commence in 2014.
Kenya’s Menengai phase 1
project will cost approximately 488 million U.S. dollars in
drilling costs. GDC said it has obtained adequate funding for
this phase from the government and development partners.
GDC said it is also looking for
investors for the Phase 2 of the project that will generate
800MW. The company said it is seeking four equity investors who
will each get the opportunity to jointly develop 200 MW of steam
Besides the Menengai geothermal
field with 100MW to be commissioned in 2015, the Baringo-Silali
geothermal field located in North Rift region of Kenya is
earmarked for development in 2014.
Infrastructure works have begun in the Baringo prospect and
drilling is set in Silali to begin in the third quarter of 2014.
Kenya’s Geothermal Development
Company (GDC) plans to develop the first 800 MW project in
phases of each phase with 200MW that will in turn contribute to
the Government’s target of generating additional 5000 MW by
GDC will jointly develop the
field with the private sector through PPP arrangement. The
Government expects to derive approximately 5,000 MW of its
energy from geothermal resources by 2030.
“Regarding the Tendaho
geothermal project, experts would present the preliminary
enhanced integrated model and formulate recommendations for
optimizing the conceptual model,” UNEP said.
Ethiopia recently developed a
new energy policy and strategy geared towards the objective of
generating 5,000 MW from geothermal energy resources by 2037.
Tendaho geothermal field which
is located in northeastern part of the Ethiopia’s Rift Valley is
one of the target areas at the forefront to contribute towards
the achievement of this goal.
The Tendaho geothermal field is
known for its multiple potential geothermal areas namely Doubti,
Ayrobera and Allalobeda. The UNEP ARGeo Project currently
focuses on the Doubti-Ayrobera geothermal prospect area.
During the technical meeting, a
review of project proposals on the pre-feasibility studies of
the Kinigi geothermal prospect, in Rwanda will also be presented
Rwanda plans to develop over
300 MWe from geothermal resources to reduce the current
dependence on biomass as the primary energy supply for over 85
percent of the population.
Electricity is used by only 10
percent of the population and the government of Rwanda plans to
increase the access to electricity to 70 percent of the
population through public and private partnerships, and shift
the economic drivers from agriculture to manufacturing.