Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has announced plans to build a vast geothermal spa to potentially rival Iceland’s popular Blue Lagoon.

If built, it will be Kenya’s second geothermal spa, after the one operated by Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) in Olkaria steam fields, Naivasha, from where it earns revenues from swimming patrons out for warm mineral baths.

GDC plans its spa in its Menengai steam fields, Nakuru, in a quest to diversify its revenue base besides steam sales.

“Blue Lagoon is something we’re looking to emulate at Menengai,” GDC drilling and infrastructure general manager Paul Ngugi said at the Kenya Geothermal Congress 2022.

Besides generating electricity and hot spas, geothermal wells could be used for direct use of steam, including for heating plants in greenhouses, drying cereals, heating water in fish farms and for milk pasteurization, among other uses.

GDC is mandated to drill exploration wells in search of steam on behalf of private investors to de-risk the venture before handing them over to power producers at a fee.

The geothermal agency has seven rigs while KenGen, which drills and produces electricity, possess three operational rigs. Both agencies are State-owned.

Kenya is currently the sixth largest geothermal power producer with an installed capacity of 949MW, out of which 799MW is by KenGen and the remainder by American independent power producer Ormat Technologies through its local subsidiary OrPower 4.