Kenya, Tanzania in partnership to exploit geothermal energy

A geothermal well at the floor of Menengai Crater. FILE
A geothermal well at the floor of Menengai Crater

Kenya plans to partner with Tanzania in production of geothermal power in efforts to increase energy production in the East African region.

A delegation of senior government officials and members of Tanzania’s parliamentary Committee on Energy and Mining has been on a one-week experiential visit on geothermal development in Kenya with the aim of understanding capacity building, licensing and how to attract investors for the partnership.

Tanzania, which has the longest rift stretch in Eastern Africa, has about 52 identified sites with a geothermal potential of 650MW that have not been fully exploited.

Speaking to the media at the Menengai Geothermal development, the chairman of Tanzania’s parliamentary committee on energy and mining Victor Mwambalaswa noted that geothermal power production in Kenya has been successful in the past four years and added that the same could be replicated in Tanzania to help in faster development of the resource.

Impressive development

“During our discussions, we have been impressed by what Kenya has done in the past four years and we have discussed what is going to suit both partners,” he said.

Tanzania’s commissioner for energy and petroleum affairs Hosea Mbise said the exploited energy in Tanzania is about 600MW, which is low considering that the demand of the resource is about 900MW.

To kick off the project, the African Development Bank — key financiers of the Menengai Geothermal project — is sponsoring a few experts from Tanzania to train on geothermal science.

“For Tanzania to accelerate its geothermal portfolio,it will rely on Kenya’s established geothermal tradition.” Eng Mbise said.

The key prospects of the project include Lake Ngozi, River Mbaka and Songwe around the Mbeya region.