The Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC) has confirmed it is ready to start exploration at the the Paka Geothermal Project in Baringo County, following the signing of a Sh500 million Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) grant with the African Union (AU).

The funding is expected to meet the cost of the GDC exploration drilling programme for the Paka Geothermal Project in Baringo.

“The Paka Geothermal Project is an integral component of GDC’s strategic plan, where the company envisions the development of 1,065MW from geothermal sources by 2030. Of this, approximately 100MW will be sourced from the Paka Geothermal Project,” said GDC MD and CEO Eng Jared Othieno.

The deal signed by AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and Eng Othieno is set to support 40 per cent of the total drilling cost and 20 per cent of the total infrastructure development cost of the project.

On his part, Atef Marzouk, the AUC Project Manager for the GRMF, and Energy Expert Sylvain Degolmal lauded GDC on this achievement.

Being the first public developer to sign the AUC grant, said it was symbolic and encouraging and demonstrates the government’s pledge to expand geothermal development in Kenya.

The AUC and its partners KfW, BMZ, EU Africa ITF and FCDO (former DFID), expressed commitment to funding bankable geothermal projects across the East African region.

Under the agreement, GDC will drill two deep geothermal wells and upgrade the existing infrastructure to allow further development of the geothermal resource in the Project area.

The project located in Baringo – Silali Geothermal province, is part of the first geothermal drilling programme in the area - north of the equator in Kenya’s East African Rift System.

The project is situated 25km north of Lake Baringo and approximately 120km south of the largest desert lake, Lake Turkana.

Currently, Kenya’s energy mix comprises geothermal (29 per cent), hydro (29 per cent), wind (12 c per cent), solar and others (2 per cent) and thermal (28 per cent).

The East Africa Rift System has geothermal potential of 15,000 MW, and out of which Kenya boast of an estimated potential 10,000MW.