Steam field exploration in Baringo County shapes up

The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has struck steam at the Baringo-Silali Geothermal Project. This marks a major milestone in opening up a new frontier of renewable energy for Kenya.

A discharging well at the Paka geothermal field

The new well at Paka Field, about 260 KM northwest of the capital Nairobi, is the first to be drilled in the geothermal rich region. It will put Kenya on the map as one of the most robust geothermal countries in the world.

“This is an exciting time for GDC and Kenya,” said the Managing Director and CEO, Eng. Johnson P. Ole Nchoe. “This well is a game-changer. It has proved the viability of the Paka geothermal field. It’s also ushering Kenya into an age of vibrant geothermal energy.”

The success, barely two years after works began in the field, is a major boost in GDC’s quest to provide Kenya with affordable and reliable energy. Other geothermal fields in Kenya are in Olkaria and Menengai.

The first phase of the Baringo –Silali Geothermal Project targets to develop 300 MW spread in three geothermal areas namely Korosi, Paka and Silali.

“I’m happy that at GDC we are aggressively expanding energy opportunities for Kenya. Our commitment is to ensure timely delivery of renewable energy projects that will greatly support the country’s development vision,” the CEO said in an interview.

The CEO noted that all major economies thrive because of the access to abundant energy. Geothermal, he noted, will power Kenya into a vibrant future of great industrial and social development.

And to witness the dramatic discharging of well was a delegation from the project development partner – Kfw of Germany. The partner was also on a project inspection mission. Other development partners in this project include the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Fund (GRMF), JICA and UNEP.

“The success of the drilling of the well is exciting. Paka is no longer a prospect but a field. We will continue to support GDC in the drilling operations to ensure that Kenya harnesses her geothermal energy which is in plenty,” said Mr Wesely Vargas, the kfw Senior Technical Expert for Geothermal.

GDC MD & CEO Eng. Johnson P. Ole Nchoe (second left) and KfW Program Manager Mr. Michael Andres (far left) join area residents at a community water point in the Baringo-Silali Geothermal Project

Kfw has financed steam field development for about 300MW and GDC will provide counterpart funding. The financing also includes road networks and an intricate water reticulation system for drilling operations. Besides, in this project, GDC has incorporated a robust community water supply program with 20 watering points for domestic and livestock use.

“The success of the project is also critical to the BIG 4 agenda. Renewable and affordable energy from geothermal will boost all the sectors of the economy. This is a big milestone for Kenya,” Eng. Nchoe enthused.

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