Kenya is Africa’s undisputed leader in geothermal energy development, with around 48% of country’s electricity coming from geothermal power plants. Kenya’s plentiful geothermal resources are helping country in taking the big steps towards the clean energy future.
The first geothermal power plant in Kenya was built in 1981 with the generating capacity of 15 megawatts. Today, the total generating capacity coming from geothermal power plants is close to 1000 MW.
By 2030, if everything goes according to the country’s green development goals, Kenya will have 1,600 MW coming from geothermal power plants. Geothermal energy provides electricity and this is the prime factor in industrialization of the country and improving economic status of its people.
Unlike wind and solar, which are intermittent energy sources, geothermal energy is more reliable, providing a reliable stream of power 24-7.
Like all other energy sources, geothermal has some setbacks, most notably the construction of new geothermal power plants can endanger natural ecosystems and also lead to displacement of communities. In Kenya, hundreds of semi-nomadic Maasai families have been displaced because of the construction of new wells.
Kenya’s rapid geothermal power development should serve as a good example for many other African countries. There are large amounts of untapped geothermal power plants in many other African countries from Algeria to Namibia to Malawi, South Africa, Liberia and beyond.