Image: Energy Siren
Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has secured a contract to provide geothermal drilling services to state-run Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP).
The KenGen consortium was awarded the contract in December 2018, with the signing ceremony taking place last week. The ceremony was attended by EEP CEO, Dr. Abraham Belay, KenGen’s MD and CEO, Rebecca Miano, and other KenGen leaders.
“As we extend our services to Ethiopia, we are leveraging on our expertise, in-depth knowledge of the African Rift Valley and close to four decades of successful drilling experience,” said Miano.
During the signing, Belay acknowledged how Ethiopia had tried to venture into geothermal development as far back as 1981 but was yet to make a commercial breakthrough.
“Currently, we have some geothermal drilling rigs that are idle and now broken down… We [are] delighted to have [KenGen helping] our people manage the equipment and run the power plants,” Belay said.
Consisting of the implementation of drilling rigs and accessories, including rig operation and maintenance, the contact for drilling geothermal wells with East Africa’s largest power producer company at Aluto, Ethiopia is financed by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian government of $76.8 billion.
The project consists of two phases of implementation, namely Phase I which is the purchase of drilling rigs and Phase II, the provision of drilling services. KenGen is set to supply approximately 30 percent of the component of Phase II, translating to around $6.2 million.
Kenya has a geothermal installed capacity of 685MW with an estimated potential of 10,000MW along the Rift Valley, making it Africa’s number one geothermal energy producer and among top ten in the world.
Over and above having experts with considerable experience in geothermal exploration and drilling, KenGen also has a Geothermal Centre of Excellence which conducts training programs for local and international students.
The agreement will see Ethiopia exporting 100 MW of electricity to South Sudan over the next three years with plans to increase capacity to 400 MW.