By Philip Rodenbough
Electricity generation via geothermal power in Kenya is a hot issue, but is this technology safe for the environment and worth the steep investment costs? Even if the benefits outweigh the risks, it is not clear that the benefits of geothermal power are making their way to Kenyans who are currently living in the dark – and this needs to change.
Kenya opened up an enormous geothermal power plant in February 2015 – by some measures it is the largest in the world.(2) Experts estimate that the new 280 mega-watt Olkaria IV plant is increasing geothermal power’s share of total electricity production in Kenya to 35 or even 50%.(3) Kenya built Africa’s first geothermal power plant in 1981 – the much smaller 45 mega-watt Olkaria I – but the new US$ 1.3 billion plant represents a significant leap forward in Kenya’s energy portfolio.(4)