Geothermal is better than Lamu coal plant

The Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha. The Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company is drilling 10 wellsnew wells over the next in the Olkaria area to generate steam that will add an extra 140MW (megawatts) into the national grid. Photo/ Jack Owuor
The Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha. The Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company is drilling 10 wellsnew wells over the next in the Olkaria area to generate steam that will add an extra 140MW (megawatts) into the national grid. Photo/ Jack Owuor

Yesterday KenGen held the groundbreaking ceremony for the 83 MW Olkaria 1 Additional Unit 6 power plant. It will be completed in 2021 (see P7).

In July next year KenGen will complete the 165.4 MW Olkaria V plant.

Already 89 per cent of KenGen's installed capacity of 1,631 MW is generated from renewable wind, solar and geothermal. With the new Olkaria plants, that percentage will rise even higher.

This clean affordable green energy can even be exported as a forex earner.

So why are we bothering to build a coal plant in Lamu? Coal can never be as clean or as cheap as geothermal. Coal has to be imported from South Africa, draining our foreign exchange. The Lamu plant will disfigure a World Heritage site.

Last month in Paris President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was committed to Kenya generating all its energy from renewable sources by 2021.

It does not make sense to build a coal plant in Lamu when we have unutilised geothermal sources. Let's heed Uhuru's words and scrap the Lamu coal plant.

Quote of the day: "It always seems impossible until it's done."

Nelson Mandela

The South Africa leader died on 5 December, 2013