GreenMax Capital Advisors, a leading global clean energy transaction advisor, has secured a US$950,000 grant to support the final stages of project preparation for a 40 MW geothermal energy project in Kenya.
The grant has been provided by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Africa Clean Energy Facility (ACEF), one of the Power Africa programs sponsored by the US Government, for Akiira One Ltd. (AOL), a Kenyan renewable energy project development firm.
The proposed project will be developed on land concessioned to AOL. adjacent to the Olkaria geothermal fields, less than 100km outside of Nairobi. The first phase of 40 MW will be followed by additional generation capacity of 100 MW. When finished the new facilities will have a total capacity of 140 MW.
AOL, which is solely dedicated to development of the geothermal project at Akiira, was first established by a Kenyan clean energy development company as a joint venture with the US geothermal developer Ram Energy Inc. Danish Investment Firm DI Frontier Market Energy & Carbon Fund and Kenyan investment firm Centum Investment Company Ltd are in the process of joining the project as equity investors to provide sufficient financial resources for implementation.
The grant will pay for a highly qualified set of international and Kenyan consultants to perform the final technical and legal work necessary to commence drilling for the geothermal resource early next year.
Robert Bunyi CEO of AOL, stated,
"This grant is a major step in the implementation of the first fully commercially developed geothermal project in Kenya. While previous projects have benefited from early stage exploration and drilling funded by government and donors, AOL has tackled the steam field development with all its high risks, from scratch, entirely with private capital. Therefore the support of the US Government's OPIC ACEF program is enormously valuable as a partnership with us to allow our risk capital to stretch a bit further and enable drilling to commence on schedule. GreenMax's support has been invaluable in building our cooperation with OPIC and in finally securing the grant funding."
Hezy Ram, CEO of Ram Energy Inc., a Wyoming based geothermal energy developer which is one of the founding shareholders of AOL, remarked:
"We are grateful for the support of OPIC and the aggressive role that our government is playing to promote investment by American companies like ours in Africa's clean energy sector. We believe Kenya offers strong opportunities for private investment in geothermal energy and a partnership with OPIC allows us to more effectively manage risks."
Clifford J. Aron, President of GreenMax said:
"We are delighted to be able to successfully arrange support for AOL through one of the cornerstone programs of President Obama's Power Africa initiative. The US Government is providing valuable impetus for clean energy development in the power hungry nations of Sub Saharan Africa. GreenMax is proud to play a small role in helping Kenya meet its ambitious energy sector development goals."