In a move that will cement it as the leading geothermal power company in Africa, Kenyan state-owned power utility, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), has signaled imminent prospects of signing geothermal drilling deals in Tanzania.
The Tanzanian government published tenders late last year where they were seeking drilling of at least two shallow geothermal wells in the Songwe Region. KenGen responded to the bids, and is confident about its chances to win the contracts.
If successful, the contracts will add to similar drilling projects undertaken by the company in Djibouti and Ethiopia.
“We have responded to expressions of interest for two from Tanzania and we are waiting for their response. Some are for studies and others for drilling,” said Abraham Serem, KenGen’s managing director.
Tanzania has immense geothermal power generation potential, with experts estimating the country’s geothermal energy potential at 5,000 megawatts. The government of Tanzania is targeting to develop 200 MW of geothermal power generation capacity by 2025.
KenGen expansion plans
KenGen is looking at deals outside of Kenya to grow its operations and revenue. The company’s contract in Djibout is estimated to be worth around U$6.5 million (Sh709 million), and its contract in Ethiopia is around US$95 million.
As Kenya’s largest electric power producer, accounting for close to 60% of the country’s power supply, KenGen operates about 1,904 MW of power generation capacity. The company’s electricity generation mix comprises hydropower (45%), geothermal (39%) and wind (2%), and thermal which accounts for only 14%.
Earlier this year, the power utility outlined plans to increase its power generating capacity by 3,000 megawatts (MW) over the next 10 years. According to KenGen, the two thirds of the new power generation capacity would be from renewable power generation sources, with 2,000MW coming from geothermal and hydropower.
KenGen is spearheading the government of Kenya’s targets to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 73 percent of the country’s installed power generation capacity.