Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company expands its technical muscle in Africa

KENYA – The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is committed to building the capacity of geothermal practitioners in Africa as part of its South-to-South solutions strategy.

The Company announced this strategy when it received 20 fellows, staff of Djibouti Geothermal Energy Development Authority (ODDEG) who are in Kenya training at GDC’s iconic Menengai Geothermal Project.

The fellows are undergoing training in nine key specialized areas in geothermal resource development including drilling operations, environmental sciences, geophysics, geology, and geochemistry.

The 29 days training has been funded by the Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften and Rohstoffe (BGR) of Germany.

The GDC Managing Director and CEO Eng. Jared Othieno has further reaffirmed his company’s interest in supporting the growth of geothermal energy in Africa.

“Technical know-how is critical to the success of geothermal development in Africa. At GDC, we’re always ready to share our unique expertise with our friends in the region. Our facilities, sites and instructors will be availed to serve our continent,” the GDC CEO said.

And at the Menengai Geothermal Project, the Djiboutians see the path to their country’s success in geothermal exploits.

GDC has emerged as an unparalleled Geothermal Centre of Excellence in Africa and the Company has heavily invested in training infrastructures such as rig simulators, laboratories, and drilling rigs.

The company is said to be having some of the best geothermal scientists in Africa as well and is now leveraging on this expertise and unique infrastructure to support other African countries that seek to develop their own geothermal resources.

This is not the first time GDC has trained experts from Djibouti. In 2018, GDC successfully trained 12 ODDEG staff, a training that was tailor-made to focus on strengthening the capacity of ODDEG staff to improve their practical experience through on-the-job training at GDC’s Menengai geothermal field.

The Company has established a robust training programme that it says will uplift the geothermal technical-how of most African countries.

“At GDC, we’re always ready to share our unique expertise with our friends in the region. Our facilities, sites and instructors will be availed to serve our continent”

Jared Othieno – CEO, Geothermal Developement Company

Dr Robert Ogutu, the Ag. Principal, Geothermal Centre of Excellence at GDC reckons that training in Kenya for geothermal technology is far much cost-effective.

Countries such as Iceland, Japan, the United States and New Zealand are other renowned training destinations in the world and even though world-class come with a bit of high costs and GDC, therefore, is Africa’s hope in geothermal development.

So far, GDC has trained over 800 experts drawn from different parts of Africa including Comoros Islands, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Malawi.

The Company is planning to build a training Centre on its land in Kabarak that is aimed at cementing GDC’s place as the ultimate hub of geothermal development in Africa.

In February 2021, another Kenyan power generator Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Plc., won a contract to drill three geothermal wells in Djibouti.

The company signed a US$6.5 million contract with Office Djiboutien De Development De lenergie Geothermique (Djiboutian Office of Geothermal Energy Development) (ODDEG).

That was the third geothermal drilling contract that KenGen has won in Africa.

In October 2019, the company secured a Kshs 5.8 billion (US$53.7 million) contract to drill 12 geothermal wells in Ethiopia. The contract with an independent power producer includes installing a water supply system and equipment.

In February 2019, KenGen won yet another contract for consultancy services and drilling geothermal wells worth US$76,801,344 in Ethiopia and also developed partnerships with countries such as Rwanda in renewable energy development.

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