Societies in modern times, including Kenya, require enormous amounts of energy to drive the machines of commerce and to sustain the lifestyles that many people have come to expect.
Today, most of this energy is derived from oil, natural gas, and coal, to mention a few.
Local exceptions exist, but oil is by far the most common source of energy worldwide. Oil resources, however, are non-renewable and concentrated in only a few places around the globe, creating uncertainty in long-term supply for many nations.
Kenya, obviously, is one of those countries whose power demands are met by oil.
However, the nation has other sources, and is among the lucky states that can harness renewable sources such as geothermal power.
The Olkaria station is the most popular geothermal resource in Kenya.
It has for a long time been under the management of KenGen, Kenya’s leading energy producer.
KenGen says that it will earn KES 118 million in the next seven years from the Olkaria II Clean Energy Development Mechanism (CDM) Project.
Basically, KenGen will reenergize its work at the geothermal production station following a decision by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
UNFCCC decision will also see KenGen expand the Olkaria II CDM Project.
KenGen has an estimated certified emission reduction (CERs) of 78640 metric tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per annum. One CER unit is equivalent to a one-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (measured in CO2 equivalent).
This means that KenGen expects 550480 metric tonnes CO2 equivalent, with potential earnings of KES 118 million based on a market bales of 2$/ton of CER all the way to 2024.
In simple terms, the decision by UNFCCC will see substantial capacity bumps at the Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant through the addition of a third power generation unit with a capacity of 35 MW.
Geothermal energy is increasingly recognized for its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the project will, according to KenGen CEO Rebecca Miano, see notable reductions of the gases by displacing fossil fuel-based electricity in the Kenyan grid with clean geothermal power.
The increased capacity will create more capacity for rural electrification.
As said, the benefit to society from the utilization of geothermal energy, lies in the fact, that besides conserving non-renewable fossil resources such as oil and gas, renewable resources do not generally cause emission of carbon dioxide or other gases which contribute to global warming.
KenGen says this will go a long way in improving the lives of people in rural areas and creating jobs.