- Olkaria has the capacity of 10,000mw from geothermal
- Currently Kengen has tapped 799mw from geothermal
Kenya's leading electricity producer, Kengen is running out of geothermal fields as Independent Power Producers (IPP) acquire large share of the land mainly around Naivasha and Narok.
The move to lease the land to the private companies has been termed as a major threat to power generation in the country at a time when demand is on the rise.
The most affected areas are the geothermal rich areas of Olkaria and Suswa where several private companies have acquired vast parcels of land but are no engaging in any exploration.
At a meeting with the parliamentary Energy committee in Naivasha the government expressed its concern noting that seeking concession of the geothermal fields could lead to protracted court cases.
Energy Cabinet Secretary David Chirchir admitted that a huge chunk of the geothermal fields were under private companies.
He said that some of the companies acquired the land more than 10 years ago but no exploration had been undertaken due to the high cost involved.
“We need to seek ways of recapturing these geothermal fields which are currently under the Independent Power Producers,” said the CS.
The committee’s vice-chair Ken Aramat said the IPPs have acquired vast lands in the region thus restricting Kengen's expansion.
“Most of the geothermal fields in Olkaria, Longonot and Suswa are owned by private companies who are not doing anything and this stops Kengen from any expansion,” he said.
The MP noted that some of the companies were simply holding onto the land for speculative purposes warning that this would in future hurt the energy sector.
The committee's chairman Vincent Kawaya said Kenya has a high potential of geothermal power, which is environmentally friendly and reliable unlike hydro and solar.
He said failure to recapture the leased geothermal fields could have adverse effects in the coming years as power demand rises.
“We are wondering why an investor would seek hundreds of acres in the geothermal fields and fail to explore energy for years though we understand geothermal drilling is expensive,” he said.