Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kenya: The Great Value of Geothermal Energy as a Natural Resource

Opinion - Geothermal is green and cheap (The Star)

Olkaria III flow test, by Patrick Walsh. Active flow test during construction of the 4th addition to Ormat's Olkaria III complex in Kenya.  Taken from the top of Olkaria Hill in November 2015.

I wrote some months back of how when I was in Australia for the AfricaDownUnder annual conference hosted by the Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group in 2015, I met an energy expert who told me that in his estimate, the potential value of Kenyan geothermal energy is far greater than that of the oil reserves and other mineral resources.

And that far from being just a facilitator of the emerging mining sector in Kenya, geothermal energy was actually a far greater resource than any coal or oil or natural gas that we might hope to discover and exploit.

Iceland has used its geothermal resource and the cheap power it produces to become one of the world’s top aluminium smelting centres.

Iceland has no bauxite (aluminium ore) of its own. But its geothermally-generated electricity is so cheap that bauxite is shipped to Iceland for processing, and aluminium shipped back to global markets.

This example reminds us that geothermal energy is a natural resource in its own right, no different from oil or coal – and it is something we have plenty of.