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Kenya looks to geothermal power to fuel development

Source:  Copyright 2008, Reuters
Date:  August 10, 2008
Byline:  Hereward Holland
Original URL: Status ONLINE

For Maasai tribesman Charles Kamami, Kenya's drive to boost its geothermal capacity spells environmental destruction which threatens his pastoralist way of life.

But for east Africa's largest economy, geothermal energy could be a savior as it struggles to increase power generation to keep up with soaring demand driven by years of robust growth.

With proven potential of 7,000 megawatts, geothermal energy from Kenya's geologically active Great Rift Valley forms the cornerstone of a government scheme to double total energy production by 2018.

That's key to luring foreign investors. According to a recent World Bank report, the price of electricity is a leading factor in making Africa uncompetitive, relative to other emerging economies like India and China.

"The problem in the past has been the expense of geothermal energy generation," said Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program, by telephone from ...

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