Kenya has been ranked the world’s top geothermal energy producer.Kenya’s geothermal capacity stands at 823 megawatts (MW), having grown by 165MW since last year and moving the East African country above Italy’s 800MW. This is according to Renewable Capacity Statistics 2020 prepared by Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
In 2010, Italy’s steam power capacity stood at 728MW compared to the current 800MW, meaning the European nation has only managed a 9.8 percent growth over the past decade. On the other hand, Kenya’s stock of geothermal has expanded four times over a similar period from 198 MW in 2010.
Kenya’s deepening of geothermal development has put it on track to joining the elite Gigawatt Club of countries with geothermal production of 1,000 MW (1 GW) and above. Only four nations, including the US, belong to this club. Geothermal is an attractive low-cost renewable energy source with low emissions and serves as stable, reliable base-load electricity.
Last year, Kenya added the third largest geothermal capacity in the world, enabling it to move to top seven global geothermal powerhouses.
“Geothermal power capacity grew by 682 MW in 2019 (globally), slightly more than in 2018. Again, Turkey led with an expansion of 232 MW, followed by Indonesia (+185 MW) and Kenya (+160 MW),” IRENA said in its update.
Until last year, Kenya was ranked ninth in geothermal production, but steamed ahead to leapfrog Iceland to position eight and has now pulled a similar coup on Italy.
Geothermal now accounts for 30 percent of Kenya’s total installed power capacity of 2,700MW with the other share occupied by hydropower, wind, solar and thermal power.