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AfDB to replicate Kenya’s geothermal projects across Africa

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY SOLOMON KIRIMI

THE African Development Bank plans to replicate Kenya’s success in geothermal power generation across the continent.

AfDB  announced that it is working on an ambitious geothermal development program for Africa, drawing from the experiences gained from the Menengai geothermal project in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

The bank said in a statement that it is working with the government of Djibouti on the development of a 50 MW power plant in the Lac Assal region.

In Ethiopia, the AfDB has played a leading role in defining a geothermal development roadmap while in Tanzania, the AfDB is leading the development of the scaling-up renewable energy program of the Climate Investment Funds, which will include the financing of a geothermal development project.

AfDB has started the identification process for a 20 MW geothermal plant Comoros, matching the needs of the archipelago.

Tanzania has been identified as the next country having huge geothermal potential, with the appropriate institutional framework and concrete geothermal sites already identified.

AfDB is using the Kenyan model of assisting governments to shoulder high risk exploration drilling activities and using wellheads to generate power from discovered steam before the main power plants are completed.

Only about 217 MW of geothermal energy has been  developed so far in the region, most of it in Kenya. This, the bank said, is insignificant  considering the huge potential.