Saturday, 03 March 2012 00:15 BY STAR REPORTER AND PPS
KENYA has signed a power purchase deal with Ethiopia for the import of 400mw annually from the Addis government President Kibaki said on Thursday. He said the agreement is a good achievement that shows the interdependency of the two countries in the pursuit of the socio-economic development of their people. He cited limited infrastructural connectivity and low level of energy availability as some of the major challenges to the enhancement of trade between the two countries.
Speaking at a state banquet in honour of the visiting Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi at a Nairobi hotel, the President commended the Ethiopian Government for initiating hydro power generation projects beneficial to the region. On the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor, President Kibaki said the project recognises that good ports, roads and railway networks can unlock the huge untapped economic potential of the sub region.
The Head of State expressed gratitude that Kenya and Ethiopia have, over the last one year taken concrete measures to enhance bilateral relations by signing a bilateral trade agreement. “I am certain that we can facilitate increased trade by working closely within the COMESA framework as well as the Bilateral Trade Agreement”, said the President.
Meles Zenawi reassured that the relationship between Kenya and Ethiopia was so firm that even the change of government and ideological differences could not make a difference. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that Ethiopia will work with other countries in the sub region to bring tangible development.
Zenawi later visited the Olkaria geothermal plant where he was conducted on a tour by Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi Kiraitu said that geothermal production in the country will hit 5,000mw by 2020 noting that geothermal power is the only solution of addressing high power demand in the country.
He said geothermal production would double from the current 250mw to 500mw in two years. “Kenya is the leading producer of geothermal in Africa and we plan to explore more so that we can generate 5,00 mega watts by 2020,” said Kiraitu. Kiraitu however said high cost of geothermal production posed a major challenge to private entrepreneurs.
He said lack of enough geothermal engineers is also a drawback. “It costs US dollars5 million to drill one well and you may end up hitting a dry well though the Geothermal Development Company has come up to address this through early exploration,” he said. Kengen MD Eddy Njoroge said that they would collaborate with Ethiopia on geothermal exploration. “We are currently importing 400mw of hydro-power from Ethiopian and we want to venture into their country and exploit their geothermal,”