The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is committed to building capacity of geothermal practitioners in Africa as part of its South-to-South solutions strategy.
The Company announced this strategy when it received 20 fellows, staff of Djibouti Geothermal Energy Development Authority (ODDEG).
The fellows are in Kenya training at GDC’s iconic Menengai Geothermal Project.
They are now undergoing training in nine key specialized areas in geothermal resource development. Some of the areas include drilling operations, environmental sciences, geophysics, geology, and geochemistry.
The 29 days training has been funded by the Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften and Rohstoffe (BGR) of Germany.
The GDC Managing Director and CEO Eng. Jared Othieno has further reaffirmed his company’s interest in supporting the growth of geothermal energy in Africa.
“Technical know-how is critical to the success of geothermal development in Africa. At GDC, we’re always ready to share our unique expertise with our friends in the region. Our facilities, sites and instructors will be availed to serve our continent,” the GDC CEO said.
And at the Menengai Geothermal Project, the Djiboutians see the path to their country’s success in geothermal exploits.
One of the start attractions at Menengai is the drilling rig simulator. We caught up with Mr. Adsieh Aden Kanil keenly following instructions on how to drill.
The 3D screen and the baritone voice of the pre-recorded instructor, carefully and calmly guiding what to do. Mr. Kanil is clearly excited. His other colleagues sit at the back of the 5 by 5 meter console following the instructions and taking notes. Each of them waiting for their turn at the console.
“It’s exciting. It’s like real. There is a lot to be discovered but this is a right beginning,” Mr. Kanil enthuses. He hopes when he goes back to his country, he will be able to drill without any hitches. He hankers for the day Djibouti will power its economy using geothermal energy.
“We appreciate that GDC has been committed to training us,” he says. “Your instructors are friendly, patient and very knowledgeable. We hope one day we can be like them,” he says.
GDC has emerged as an unparalleled Geothermal Centre of Excellence in Africa. The Company has heavily invested in training infrastructure such as rig simulators, laboratories, and drilling rigs.
The company is said to be having some of the best geothermal scientists in Africa as well and is now leveraging on this expertise and unique infrastructure to support other African countries that seek to develop their own geothermal resources.
This is not the first time GDC has trained experts from Djibouti. In 2018, GDC successfully trained 12 ODDEG staff. The training was tailor-made to focus on strengthening capacity of ODDEG staff to improve their practical experience through on-the-job-training at GDC’s Menengai geothermal field.
The Company has established a robust training programme that it says will uplift the geothermal technical-how of most African countries.
Dr Robert Ogutu, the Ag. Principal, Geothermal Centre of Excellence at GDC reckons that training in Kenya for geothermal technology is far much cost-effective. Iceland, Japan, the United States and New Zealand are other renowned training destinations in the world .Though world class come with a bit of high costs. GDC, therefore, is Africa’s hope in geothermal development.
So far, GDC has trained over 800 experts drawn from different parts of Africa including Comoros Islands, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Malawi.
The Company is planning to build a training Centre on its land in Kabarak that is aimed at cementing GDC’s place as the ultimate hub of geothermal development in Africa.