Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 348

Full Length Research Paper

Low cost geothermal energy indicators and exploration methods in Kenya

Mary Wandia Macharia
  • Mary Wandia Macharia
  • Dedan Kimathi University of Technology P. O. Box 657 – 10100, Nyeri, Kenya.
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Moses Karoki Gachari
  • Moses Karoki Gachari
  • Dedan Kimathi University of Technology P. O. Box 657 – 10100, Nyeri, Kenya.
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David Ndegwa Kuria
  • David Ndegwa Kuria
  • Dedan Kimathi University of Technology P. O. Box 657 – 10100, Nyeri, Kenya.
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Nicholas Obuya Mariita
  • Nicholas Obuya Mariita
  • Dedan Kimathi University of Technology P. O. Box 657 – 10100, Nyeri, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 05 May 2017
  •  Accepted: 21 June 2017
  •  Published: 30 September 2017

Abstract

Geothermal power is one of the safest and environment friendly energy worldwide. It has been harvested in Kenya since 1956 with most potential sites being along the Rift Valley. There are surface manifestations such as hot springs and mudpools that are visible. Different methods of exploration are usually applied, including geophysical, geochemical and geological methods. This paper highlights different geothermal exploration techniques with emphasis on low cost methods that can be used in developing countries to map geothermal potential areas highlighting methods used in Kenya. A comparable cost analysis is done for Olkaria field in Kenya which has been explored using different methodologies and the results show that ground survey methods are more expensive than remote sensing though the two methods have unique advantages. Ground data collection method is three times expensive as compared to the remote sensing methodology. It also reviews the geothermal indicators that can be mapped by remote sensing techniques, and especially those using satellite imagery.

Key words: Geothermal indicators, exploration, geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing.