Hope for cheaper power as GDC strikes huge geothermal well in Baringo
Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has discovered a huge geothermal well at Paka Hills, Baringo County, with a capacity of producing 22 MW of electricity. This latest discovery brings GDC’s total potential output in the region to 70 MW.
Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary, Davis Chichir, described the discovery as a significant milestone which brings Kenya closer to lowering the cost of power. “It’s a moment of pride for Kenya. By the end of this year, we should be going to tender and invite investors to convert the steam here into electricity,” he said.
He said Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) will start to work on the modalities of evacuating power from Paka Hills to the national grid. It is expected that power from Paka Hills will be cheaper, estimated to cost less than seven US cents. Geothermal power is one of the cheapest in the country, hence, the government is banking on this vast natural resource to arrest the rising cost of power in the country.
Chirchir spoke while presiding over the opening of the well at the weekend. According to the CS, an independent power producer in Menengai, Nakuru, is already producing 35 MW of power geothermal selling at 6.9 US cents.
“That’s very competitive. It explains why the government is committed towards the development of geothermal resources in the country,” the CS said.
“With such low tariffs and considering that geothermal is green energy, Kenya will attract investors who will also take advantage of our infrastructure like the SGR, ICT and educated workforce,” he added.
GDC Managing Director and CEO, Paul Ngugi said hitting such huge geothermal wells saves on time and costs. “On average a geothermal well would produce 5MW. Therefore, hitting 22MW is like drilling four wells at a cost of one which is a terrific achievement,” he said.