Need for GETRI
One of the pillars in attaining Kenya’s Vision 2030 is provision of adequate and reliable energy supply. Geothermal has been identified as a potential resource as it is indigenous, plenty and “green”. The geothermal industry relies on a spectrum of professionals with varying technical backgrounds and experience. No geothermal training institutions exist in Africa. In spite of the high rate of the development of Geothermal Energy resource in Kenya, the development of Training and Research capacity, especially in the local universities has been hitherto lacking. This has led to a high dependency on experts from foreign universities and institutions to provide training and cover research needs.
For quite a while now, there have been discussions on the possibilities of setting up a geothermal training centre (in one of the countries in the East Africa region) to offer training in all aspects of geothermal technology from exploration through development to power station operations. The second aspect of the training centre was envisaged to serve as a research and scientific and engineering instrument pool for use by Eastern African countries to promote geothermal energy as a cheap source of renewable energy. Finally, such an institution would be used for data archiving. The data would include publications and reports on geothermal worldwide, activities in the region, an inventory of personnel with their expertise and available equipment in the region.
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT) has taken the challenge and established the Geothermal Energy Training and Research Institute (GeTRI). The institute has been founded as a response to an existing need in the geothermal industry (within Kenya and beyond) in developing capacity to exploit this energy resource. GeTRI is expected to become both the national and regional centre of excellence in geothermal training and research; offering the first-ever comprehensive program that brings together world-class experts to teach all elements of geothermal energy from resource discovery to utilization, including drilling, reservoir engineering, plant design, environmental impact and applicable business principles. Its core service areas include postgraduate training, research, publication, seminars & conferences in close collaboration with the geothermal industry, local and international universities. Initially, the Institute will have programmes at MSc level and, later, PhD level. The programs will continually be evaluated in line with the University’s strategic plans and the demands by industry. The trainings place emphasis on modern techniques of surface exploration, drilling, resource assessment and management; but they also offer sound knowledge on traditional techniques. Students are given a hands-on experience by being attached to either KenGen of GDC, the main industry players. At the end of the geothermal training program, the graduate is expected to:
- Have a common foundation in multi-disciplinary Geothermal Energy Technology knowledge, that supports Geothermal Energy management.
- Apply the acquired knowledge and skills to identify problems and provide solutions through relevant data collection analysis and interpretation to the various challenges of Geothermal Energy exploration & exploitation.
- Effectively participate in Geothermal Energy decision making process and effectively communicate in Geothermal Energy matters.