KENYA: GRMF injects $13 million into Baringo-Silali geothermal project

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KENYA: GRMF injects $13 million into Baringo-Silali geothermal project©Johann Ragnarsson/Shutterstock

Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF), a sub-regional organisation dedicated to the promotion of geothermal energy, has decided to provide a 1.3 billion shillings ($13 million) grant to the Geothermal Development Company (GDC). The money is to be used for the Baringo-Silali geothermal project, located in the Rift Valley in western Kenya.

In western Kenya, Geothermal Development Company (GDC), the Kenyan state-owned company is developing the Baringo-Silali geothermal project in the Rift Valley. Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF), a sub-regional organisation that finances and facilitates the development of geothermal energy in East Africa, has decided to provide a grant of 1.3 billion shillings ($13 million) to GDC.

This allocation will be used to finance the drilling of wells to produce steam to run the reactors of the geothermal power plant. According to GRMF, the $13 million represents only 20% of the total investment required to complete this project, which would eventually produce 300 MW. More specifically, this amount is intended to finance 40% of the cost of drilling two wells. In order to achieve the expected capacity of this project, six steam wells will have to be drilled.

These wells will be mainly located in Paka, Silale and Korossi. GRMF’s intervention also marks the launch of the financial contribution that should make it possible to raise the budget for the construction of the power plant. The institution was jointly established by the African Union Commission (AUC), and its members include the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (FFUEAI), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The institution is increasing investment in projects in East Africa. By October 2018, it had already invested $28 million in seven projects in Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. This funding will be used to conduct surface studies and drilling programmes.

Among the projects selected and funded by GRMF in 2018, several have made considerable progress on site. One example is the Buranga geothermal project in Uganda. The first drilling has already taken place and is being carried out by Gids Consult. The Kenyan company holds a licence to operate in the area. It would like to build a geothermal power plant with a capacity of 100 MW. The cost of this project is estimated at $42 million.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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