, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is considering establishing an African regional geothermal hub in Kenya to be used as a centre of excellence for the rest of the world.
Speaking during a panel on renewable energy during the German Week, UNEP Program Manager ARGeo Dr Meseret Zemedkun said Kenya was successfully embracing renewable energy sources making it an exemplary country in the use of geothermal power in Africa and the West.
“We are considering Kenya as the main hub of the African region in terms of capacity building of geothermal technology. This is also the main achievement because they have built a very good experience and capacity. They can share their best practices with the rest of the world,” she said.
The government’s commitment in supporting geothermal technology is also demonstrated in the sound national scale of the budget allocated to the project as observed by Dr Zemedkun.
“It is really not common in any other African country. You can see the government is committed and allocates the funds for geothermal resources,” she said.
UNEP further observed that Kenya has developed a coherent geothermal policy anchored on the geothermal act which strengthens public and private partnership in developing the renewable energy power project.
According to her, the government’s financial support, public private-partnership and legal framework of geothermal technology are exemplary approaches that the rest of the world can emulate to implement the technology in their countries especially in Africa.
“Kenya is successful not only in Africa but even for the whole world. The way we see now, the trend, the commitment of the government, we can see that Kenya will reach and will also be one of the countries in the world to use geothermal for power generation,” she asserted.
Through the project, Kenya also aims to use geothermal power for direct use application which will boost green house emissions and use of renewable energy like developed countries.
Kenya currently relies on hydro energy which according to experts has almost been exhausted yet majority of population have no access to power.
During the discussions, the government announced that Kenya intends to produce 5,000 megawatts by 2017.
Head of Alternative Energy Technologies Division, Ministry of Energy, Benson Mlambo told Capital FM News that the government will next week launch the ‘last mile connectivity plan’ intended to connect more Kenyans to power.
The five year plan will ensure 80 percent of Kenyans have access to power compared to the only 35 percent currently connected.
The plan further seeks to make the cost of power more affordable and accessible also to rural parts of Kenya.
The government further announced its bid to rely on alternative power sources that are more environment friendly and efficient.