Geothermal Energy On Rise In Eastern Africa

Eastern Africa has a real need for locally generated electricity, and the Eastern Africa Rift System offers huge opportunities for the generation of geothermal energy — but until now, companies have been reluctant to conduct exploratory drilling, due to the high costs associated with a lack of success. That may change, as Africa and Europe in Partnership recently announced a new facility that will provide grants to significantly offset the costs of initial exploratory drilling.

The Geothermal Risk Management Facility will be hosted by the African Union Commission and funded by the German government and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, which have committed €20 million and will be co-financing up to €30 million respectively. Grants will cover up to 40 percent of the costs of initial exploratory drilling for subterranean areas suitable for the development of geothermal power facilities, helping to develop access to and promoting the use of clean, renewable energy to improve living conditions and protect the environment.

image via Shutterstock

All this comes per the objectives for the African energy sector within the framework of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) study, which aims to connect and upgrade infrastructure networks in the fields of transport, energy and information communications technology.

Those energy developers who succeed in discovering such pockets and in securing funding to subsequent phases of power plant construction within 18 months — helping to turn the potential 4,000 MW to 15,000 MW of geothermal available in the region into a reality — will receive an additional success premium through the fund.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Anonymous

      tPower failures disrupt Uganda grasshopper harvestntu00a0ntKAMPALAn u2014 Standing in the glare of a 250 watt light bulb in the yard of his nuncleu2019s house, Hilary Turyamugumya peers hopefully into the night sky inn search of grasshoppers.ntu00a0ntu201cEvery evening I first pray for there to be power u2014 and then I pray that the grasshoppers will come,u201d Turyamugumya told AFP.ntu00a0ntStrippedn of their wings and fried with onions, grasshoppers are a delicacy in nUgandau2019s central region u2014 gobbled up by the handful and washed down withn beer in bars around Kampala.ntu00a0nthttp://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/25/power-failures-disrupt-uganda-grasshopper-harvest/ntu00a0ntThere is an answer being pursued by Uganda for the shortfall of the grasshopper harvest, notably geothermal power.ntu00a0ntUganda considers geothermal energyntu00a0ntttSunday, 05 June 2011 20:47 Eriosi Nantaba tttu00a0tttu00a0ntKampala, Uganda-Then challenge of the country experiencing rampant power shortages can be nsolved by exploiting the estimated 450 MW of geothermal energy.ntu00a0nttThen Government of Uganda recently recognized a need to promote the use of nrenewable energy sources as alternatives or supplements to other ntraditional sources like hydropower, and fossil fuels (oil and gas).ntu00a0″Uganda has considerable potential for renewable energy from ngeothermal projects, especially in regions with volcanic activity,” nAssistant Commissioner, department of Geological survey and mines, nGodfrey Bahati told East African Business Week.ntu00a0nthttp://www.busiweek.com/11/news/latest/1128-uganda-considers-geothermal-energyntu00a0nntRather odd, is it not, that very poor countries, like Nicaragua and nUganda, are actively seeking development of geothermal power while rich ncountries think it too expensive?nnBest,u00a0 Terry