Geothermal Power

Chinese Lead African Geothermal Exploration

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted November 25, 2009

China built its Great Wall to keep foreigners out...

But Chinese company Great Wall Drilling is now making itself a foreign force in Africa, where a dire need to develop domestic energy resources means companies from the Middle Kingdom are moving in steadily.

Kenya's state-run Geothermal Development Company (GDC) recently committed $240 million per year to the expansion of the national geothermal power resource.

Kenya is reliant on hydropower for most of its electricity, and droughts consistently threaten that resource and subsequent power delivery.

With its landscape cut across by the Great Rift Valley, which is in the process of splitting two parts of the tectonic African Plate, Kenya holds a geothermal output potential of 7000 megawatts (7 GW). Currently, only 167 MW of that has been tapped.

By 2030, the Kenyan government has set the goal of bringing 4000 MW of geothermal power online to serve one of Africa's most promising developing nations.

Great Wall Drilling is furthering the recent trend of Chinese companies moving into African resource markets by lauching a massive exploration and production campaign. Great Wall Drilling has 47 wells in Kenya either planned or already dug.

Those pilot wells will serve to give Kenyan officials in the capital Nairobi and throughout the country more of an idea of how to maximize official funds and draw investment from global geothermal leaders like Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA).

Great Wall Drilling will be just one of many international companies Kenya needs to get 72 wells drilled per year to reach 4 GW by 2030.

Stay with Green Chip Stocks to learn more about how the development of alternative energy resources in developing countries like Kenya could help them "leapfrog" fossil fuel. The same has already happened with telecoms, as Kenya bypassed fixed-line infrastructure for wireless communication.

-Sam Hopkins