Nairobi — The government has signed a Sh1.6 billion grant with the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) to support capacity strengthening programme of the Geothermal Development Company.
The capacity building is expected to create a critical mass of skilled staff that will ensure the realization of the government's 5,000 Megawatts target.
Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir says that geothermal development company requires a continuous capacity building in terms of equipment and human resources to be able to deliver on its mandate.
"The government requires more than 20,000 Megawatts of electricity by 2030, a quarter (5,000MW) of this requirement is expected to come from geothermal sources," he said.
Currently Kenya has 14 rigs working in different geothermal fields.
"The country requires 15 rigs drilling continuously for the next 17 years in order to achieve the set target. Seven of the rigs currently being drilled are publicly owned and three more are on order," he said.
Chirchir observed that by using own drilling rigs; the cost of wells comes down by 45 percent.
"The realization of this significant savings is hinged on properly trained Kenyan crew and this is where collaboration with development partners becomes of great importance," he said.
Chirchir said that the four year training will see experts from Japan working with their Kenyan counterparts on a day-to-day basis.
"The training is different, while other trainings are classroom-based this training will be on field thus mentoring and transferring of practical skills to GDC staff," he said.
He said that the grant will support geothermal projects in Menangai 1 and 2, Suswa and other geothermal projects in Kenya.