Kenya has leaped to the top seven geothermal power producers globally, surpassing Italy according to global data. Kenya, through Kengen, which produces 85% of Kenya’s Geothermal power, now has an installed capacity of 823 MW. This is after Olkaria V was commissioned in 2019, tapping in an additional 172MW into the national grid.
The USA leads in installed geothermal capacity at 2,555 MW followed by Indonesia at 2131 MW, Philippines, at 1928 MW, Turkey at 1515 MW, New Zealand at 965 MW, Mexico at 936 MW and Kenya at 823 MW.
Since the geothermal discovery in Italy, many countries have invested in its exploration due to its reliability as a source of base-load energy. Additionally, geothermal energy provides economic stability to investors and low carbon emissions.
Until recently, Kenya was the only country in Africa to explore geothermal energy. Ethiopia followed with heavy investments in the sector. Kengen commissioned its first power plant Olkaria I in 1981. Kengen’s CEO Rebecca Miano credits geothermal power as the firm’s top revenue earner.
According to unaudited results for the six months that ended on 31st December 2019, Kengen made a 98% jump in profit to KSh 8.2 Billion compared to KSh 4.1 Billion made in the half ending in December 2018.
Rebecca Miano Kengen CEO said the company intends to continue investing in geothermal power generation.
Kengen has set foot outside Kenya in its expansion plan in Africa with two drilling contracts in Ethiopia. However, the expansion plan has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to a slow down in the drilling process in Ethiopia.