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High level UNEP meeting on geothermal development in Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda

UN Complex in Nairobi, Kenya (source: ThinkGeoEnergy/ creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 10 Jun 2014

Experts worldwide are gathering at UN Gigiri complex in Nairobi to review and evaluate the results of surface exploration studies and geothermal prospects in the region, at the initiative of UNEP through the ARGeo Project.

In an article written by Anthony Aisi, high level geothermal experts from Africa, Europe, Iceland, New Zealand and North America, are gathering at UN Gigiri complex in Nairobi from 10-11 June 2014, to review and evaluate the results of surface exploration studies and a conceptual model of the geothermal prospects in the region, at the initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through theAfrican Rift Geothermal Development Facility (ARGeo) Project.

The technical review meeting of the Silali and Tendaho projects in Kenya and Ethiopia aims at optimizing the information and quality of the conceptual model of the system that will allow for accurate siting of exploratory wells that minimizes risks of drilling of dry wells while increasing the chances of drilling high productive wells.

The review of previous geo-scientific studies revealed knowledge gaps that needed to be resolved to enable accurate siting of exploratory wells, and target sites for deep exploratory wells at Silali and Tendaho. UNEP was called to provide technical assistance in support of a detailed review and revised conceptual model for both projects, and additionally provide financial support to carry out further detailed surface exploration studies at Dubti-Ayrobera at Tendaho.

This meeting, the first of its kind and content to be held in the East African region, will also provide a platform for local and regional geothermal experts to learn from best practices of geothermal resource exploration and conceptual modeling based on the review and evaluation of the results of surface exploration studies.

For the Silali geothermal scheme in Kenya, the meeting is expected to fully develop a project for enhanced integrated model, identify at least three exploratory drilling sites, and provide a set of recommendations for further development of Silali geothermal project.

Besides the Menengai geothermal field with 100MW to be commissioned in 2015, the Baringo-Silali geothermal field located in North Rift region of Kenya is earmarked for development in 2014. Infrastructural works have begun in the Baringo prospect and drilling is set in Silali to begin in the third quarter of 2014. GDC plans to develop the first 800 MW project in phases of each phase with 200MW that will in turn contribute to the Government’s target of generating additional 5000 MW by December 2016. GDC will jointly develop the field with the private sector through PPP arrangement. The Government expects to derive approximately 5,000 MW of its energy from geothermal resources by 2030.

Regarding the Tendaho geothermal project, experts would present the preliminary enhanced integrated model and formulate recommendations for optimizing the conceptual model.

Recently, the Government of Ethiopia developed a new energy policy and strategy geared towards the objective of generating 5,000 MW from geothermal energy resources by 2037. Tendaho geothermal field is one of the target areas at the forefront to contribute towards the achievement of this goal.

The Tendaho geothermal field is located in the North Eastern part of the Ethiopian Rift Valley, which is known for its multiple potential geothermal areas namely Doubti, Ayrobera and Allalobeda. The UNEP ARGeo Project currently focuses on the Doubti-Ayrobera geothermal prospect area.

During the technical meeting, a review of project proposals on the pre-feasibility studies of the Kinigi geothermal prospect, in Rwanda will also be presented and discussed.

Rwanda plans to develop over 300 MWe from geothermal resources to reduce the current dependence on biomass as the primary energy supply for over 85% of the population. Electricity is used by only 10% of the population and the government of Rwanda plans to increase the access to electricity to 70% of the population through public and private partnerships, and shift the economic drivers from agriculture to manufacturing.

Source: 4th State Wire Website