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Yes, letís go geothermal

Though Kenya is regarded as the continental leader in geothermal energy development, progress in this clean power field has lagged behind the potential.

Nevertheless, the government has put a lot of effort into playing catch-up, especially at the policy level. Some time back, it formed the Geothermal Development Corporation, and has subsequently appointed some board members.

On Tuesday, the State moved to clear confusion over whether the unit would operate as an independent body or as a department of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) by advertising for the position of a general manager, as well as a competition for a company logo design.

There are good reasons why the establishment of the GDC is important for this country. For a start, hydropower resources are wearing thin even as national demand for electricity threatens to outstrip supply.

Secondly, it was critical that KenGen, largely a water-based power producer, did not control a process that should allow competition to its operations.

Lastly, as a State agency, GDC will bear the gigantic cost of the risky well-drilling process, leaving power generation to others.

However, even as we hail the move, we urge watchdog bodies to closely focus on its procurement process to prevent a repeat of the widespread Moi era corruption for which Kenyans are still paying through the nose every month in the form of power bills.


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