Baringo County is known for perennial cases of banditry which has over the years led to loss of many lives and retarded development in the area.
However, this could be a thing of the past after the completion of a multi-billion geothermal project by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) in the next three years.
GDC has rolled out phase 1 of generation of power at Baringo-Silale Geothermal Block in Baringo County which will see development of 300 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
The government has already obtained 80 million euros (Sh9 billion) loan from Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), a German bank, for steam field development in the project area.
The power company is currently in the process of developing water systems in the project area with more than 20 wells already drilled in Korosi,Paka and Silale.
GDC general manager in charge of drilling and infrastructure Eng George Kinyanjui said that the company has already managed to open the road network to the project area with more than 120 kilometres already completed.
“We’ve already put in place drilling wells, three in each of the prospect areas. Drilling works will commence soon once the water system are complete,” said Mr Kinyanjui.
The company has already installed community distribution systems and nine storage tanks, each with a capacity 4.5 million litres with the water to be pumped through a two inch pipes from the source at Lake Baringo.
In total, the Bogoria-Silale Geothermal Block will generate more than 3,000 megawatts of electricity on completion in the next three years.
GDC has identified Silale, Paka, Korossi/Chepchuk and areas around lakes Baringo and Bogoria as the potential areas for geothermal development in the area.
The project has so far attracted 36 bidders who are expected to procure or sub-contract services such as casing and well cementing, rig moving services, drill pipe inspection services, directional drilling and aerated drilling services.
According to GDC Managing Director Eng Johnson Ole Nchoe, the power company has already set aside Sh300 million for the project in the first phase with another Sh600 million to be injected to the project in the second phase.
“On its completion, the project will see the generation of more than Sh11.5 billion annually from the project, with 15 per cent of the total revenue being channeled to benefit the communities surrounding the resource areas,” said Eng Ole Nchoe who led a high powered delegation in a visit to the project area last week.
The project which will also see carbon credit valued at over Sh2.9 billion being produced which will open Baringo County as an economic hub as electricity generated will also benefit Turkana County oil where oil has already been discovered.
Eng Ole Nchoe said that the communities in the project area will be benefitting from employment opportunities when oil drilling commences in the next five months.
Local leaders led by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama and Baringo County assembly speaker William Kamket, who were in the delegation that toured the project area, pledged to preach peaceful co-existence among locals to ensure success of the ambitious project.
“Development will only be sustainable in a peaceful environment. Water shortage has been a major factor contributing to conflicts with neighbouring communities especially during the dry spell. Once this is addressed, insecurity will be a thing of the past,” said Mr Kamama.
Out of the 5000 MW which the government plans to generate by 2018 from various agencies, 810 megawatts shall be developed by GDC in Baringo (300MW), Menengai (460MW) and Suswa (150MW) respectively.