Monday, November 25, 2013

Firm bets on geothermal to power LAPSSET project

A delegation from Tanzania that toured Ol Karia power 1 station in Naivasha on 07/08/2013 enjoys the feel of steam. Tanzanian Parliamentary Energy and Mineral Committee chairman, Victor Mwambalaswa said the Kenya's success in utilization of geothermal energy was commendable.

A delegation from Tanzania that toured Ol Karia power 1 station in Naivasha on 07/08/2013 enjoys the feel of steam. Tanzanian Parliamentary Energy and Mineral Committee chairman, Victor Mwambalaswa said the Kenya's success in utilization of geothermal energy was commendable. Photo/MACHARIA MWANGI. 

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
More by this Author

The Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project will consume over 1,000 megawatts of geothermal energy that is expected to be generated in the North Rift region.

According to the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) chief executive, Dr Silas Simiyu, Baringo County has the potential of 3,000 megawatts, with nearly over half of it going to the project.

“Baringo County is one of the LAPSSET corridor areas and it is along this that we expect to transmit both goods and oil, including that from the Turkana oil fields. We, therefore, need a lot of power to pump the oil to the Lamu port,” said Dr Simiyu.

The first one of its kind in Africa, the Sh1.87 trillion project will open up northern and eastern parts of Kenya and is also aimed at fostering regional trade.

ELABORATE PLANS

The initiative, which was launched in March last year by former president Mwai Kibaki, will include the construction of an oil refinery, resort cities, oil pipeline, modern roads, railway line, and 20 berth ports.

GDC has elaborate plans to speed up exploration of the green energy in North Rift in readiness for the LAPSSET project, which is estimated to be complete by 2030.

At the same time, Dr Simiyu said mining iron ore, gypsum, and limestone in the area will require a huge amount of power.

“GDC wants to be part of turning around the economy of Baringo County by exploring enough power to supply the industries that will be put up in the area such as cement and fertiliser manufacturing,” he said.

By exploring the potential in Baringo, he said, the electricity that would have been transmitted to Nairobi and other parts of the country would be retained in the area.

Speaking during the opening of a course on exploration of geothermal sources at Lake Baringo Hotel, Dr Simiyu said the planned railway line alone would need over 100 megawatts of power.

The month-long course was sponsored by the United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme in collaboration with GDC.

advertisement