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Latest update : 2013-07-02

Kenya steams ahead

Kenya's Rift Valley hides a treasure buried several kilometres beneath the earth's surface: geothermal energy. Today only 13 percent of Kenya's electricity is provided by this source of power, but its potential is more than five times the population's entire demand.

This week the Down to Earth team visits Olkaria, the birthplace of geothermal energy in Africa. Kenyan authorities have backed efforts to expand the power plant's production capacity, but not everyone is happy about it.

Africa's Maasai community has lived on the surrounding land for centuries. As part of the expansion, dozens of families will be forced to resettle. The tribal leaders are demanding a share of the geothermal wealth.

At the same time, Kenya has other sites under construction. The country plans to multiply its electricity production tenfold by the year 2030, using geothermal as its driver. Eventually it could even export its energy, by tapping into this abundant resource that will never run out.

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Emilie COCHAUD , Juliette LACHARNAY

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