Nakuru County, which is home to Africa’s largest geothermal power plants located in Olkaria in Naivasha and Menengai in the outskirts of Nakuru town, is banking on the steam power to drive its economy.
Nakuru, which was once a vibrant, bustling industrial hub has in the past two decades witnessed a growing trend of grand industrial exits.
However, the county is now banking on geothermal energy to power industrial reforms, restore the region’s lost glory and boost the national government’s realisation of the Big Four agenda.
In the wake of plans to build an industrial park and a dry port in Naivasha, Nakuru County is now on the brink of experiencing a major flow of new investments following an unprecedented boom in geothermal energy exploration and production.
The county government now targets key investments that are expected turn around fortunes and bolster its revenue base according to Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
“Due to ongoing geothermal production, we are anticipating a boom in the geothermal industry in the county which will in turn open some of the most exciting investment opportunities for investors. Various investors have shown interest in putting up industries in the county because of affordable power. We want geothermal energy to support the economic fortunes of Nakuru,” said Mr Kinyanjui.
He added, “Nakuru is famed for tourism and flamingos. On top of that, we are rebranding ourselves as a geothermal energy economy.”
According to the county chief, Olkaria and Menengai are already bracing for even more activity in the coming months, to serve the desire of more energy that will be required for industries in the region.
“In Naivasha’s Olkaria area, the State controlled KenGen is putting up several power plants to produce more energy. And in Menengai, 20 kilometres from Nakuru Town, the State-owned Geothermal Development Corporation has completed drilling several geothermal wells,” he said.
The county’s location, infrastructure and energy from the geothermal plants are added advantages to attract investors according to the county chief.
Investors are expected to tap into areas such as large scale green houses, meat processing plants, manufacture of geothermal gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide among other areas.