NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has partnered with Kenyatta University (KU) in a programme to strengthen capacity in geothermal research and development.
The two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday where KenGen Managing Director Eddy Njoroge said the partnership was aligned with the power generator’s business strategy of investing in non-weather dependent modes of power generation such as geothermal.
‘’This will enable us continue to play our critical role of ensuring there is enough capacity to cope with the rising power demand, anticipated at eight percent annually. Investment in additional generation capacity will not only help the country cope with increased demand, but also the power demand associated with the implementation of Vision 2030,’’ added the KenGen CEO.
Mr Njoroge observed that the additional power is also expected to help maintain a reserve margin of between 15 and 30 percent. He explained: ‘’The current reserve margin of under 10 percent is not sustainable as the country relies on the expensive emergency thermal power when the rains fail, which makes power expensive in Kenya.”
Mr Njoroge said that the long-term cost of geothermal power was low compared to other sources of electricity such as thermal, hydro, and wind. Geothermal power is also environmentally-friendly as it helps reduce carbon emission, which is a key concern due to increased global warming.
He explained that the partnership in geothermal research and development will facilitate optimisation of geothermal resources and deepen understanding of the challenges facing geothermal power development in Kenya.
“The partnership will help KenGen tap into KU’s long-standing reputation as a centre of academic excellence and research to enhance its capacity in geothermal research and development,” added the KenGen CEO.
The areas of collaboration include; joint research and information sharing, capacity building through exchange programmes, developing joint funding proposals, and publication of results emanating from the collaborative research.