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Homegrown Experts to Tap into Africa’s 20,000 MW Geothermal Energy Thanks to New Excellence Centre

Tanzania's Vice President at the Opening Session of ARGeo C5 2014, Arusha, Tanzania (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Francisco Rojas 21 Aug 2015

With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent's energy shortage.

Around 80 delegates, including representatives of 13 African countries gathered in Nairobi to explore the feasibility of establishing the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE), which would enhance the continent’s institutional and infrastructural capacities, and create a critical mass of geothermal scientists and engineers.

Currently, around 600 million people in Africa lack access to grid electricity, with the figure expected to rise to 700 million by 2030. The continent is increasingly looking to alternative energy sources to bridge that gap. With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent’s energy shortage.

This immense potential remains largely untapped, as the continent faces challenges in terms of skilled human resources and development of technological know-how. To address this problem, African countries are planning to set up the AGCE, as a vehicle to ensure the development of skilled personnel and promotion of sustainable use of geothermal expertise in the continent.

The two-day workshop, starting today in Nairobi, will validate a Skillgap Audit of the region done by United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP), as well as assess a feasibility study, done by Partnership International (PI), which catalogues the region’s needs for geothermal development in the region, drafts the AGCE’s vision and evaluates its long-term sustainability. The meeting, hosted by United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) through African Rift Geothermal Development Facility (ARGeo) and co-organized by Government of Kenya and Iceland International Development Agency (ICEIDA) brings together country representatives, African governments, development partners, donors, civil society, private developers, technical institutions and academia.

AGCE is expected to be established in Kenya, which is the main hub for geothermal technology on the continent, with a natural laboratory and two major geothermal agencies: Geothermal Development Company and KENGEN. AGCE will be set up for Africans by Africans and will operate independently, using the facilities of the two large Kenyan agencies.

To view the concept note on the Validation Workshop of the feasibility study for the Africa Geothermal Center for Excellence (AGCE) , please click on the link below

AGCE

Source: Press Release by ARGeo