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UN Environment positively reports on geothermal activities in Africa in 2018

Group Photo of ARGeo C7 participants, Kigali, Rwanda - November 2018
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 3 Jan 2019

The Energy team at the UN Environmental Program in Africa proudly reports on achievements in 2018, highlighting the successful 7th African Rift Geothermal Conference held in Rwanda in November 2018, as well a series of short courses as part of capacity building efforts, e.g. with the African Geothermal Center of Excellence.

In a release before the year end, the Energy Team of the UN Environment Africa Office described 2018 as an exciting year.

In 2018, UN Environment Africa Office included “Energy” as one of its three strategic priorities, which arose from the urgency to support, coordinate and facilitate the tasks of the “Energy-Environment-Development” nexus for realization of the objective of sustainable development in Africa. This has been in the context of realization of “Global and Continental Development Agendas: (i) 2030 Sustainable Development Goals; (ii) Africa Union Agenda 2063, and (iii) Paris Agreement 2015” through an integrated approach of decentralized, de-carbonized, de-risked investment and democratized energy paradigm services.

On geothermal UNEP reports on the following activities:

A – Africa Rift Geothermal Development Facility (ARGeo)

Catalysed investment in geothermal energy development in ARGeo member countries

The enhanced conceptual model of Baringo-Silali geothermal prospect, Kenya through the ARGeo programme in 2016 has now started its further investment through drilling of deep geothermal wells for power generation. For details see our report from December 2018.

The conceptual models of geothermal prospects in Tanzania (Ngozi-Keijo-Songwe) developed in 2016 through the ARGeo programme were enhanced by EAGER and MFA-ICEIDA in 2018. UN Environment has played an active role in reviewing and optimizing results of these studies during the technical review meeting held in Tanzania in November 2018. These efforts catalyzed investments a total of about 100 MUSD for the Ngozi-Songwe (Tanzania) geothermal project . The support and investment from Africa Union Commision’s Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility and Government of Tanzania are confirmed and from Africa Development Bank as well as Africa Infrastructure Trust fund are under negotiation.

Agreed with CTCN a Technical Assistance for Geothermal Direct Use Projects in ARGeo member countries 

The UN Environment Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) announced a technical assistance for direct use applications of geothermal resources during the seventh Africa Geothermal Conference in November 2018. Direct utilization of geothermal resources is one-way countries can meet their greenhouse gases reduction quotas since it will displace the use of biomass and fossil fuels. It is also great for fighting hunger and poverty by enhancing the livelihoods of communities living in geothermal-rich localities.

ARGeo C7 Stimulated geothermal interest in the region and mainstreamed Direct Use application for geothermal power development (October-November 2018)

Spurred renewed interest in harnessing the huge geothermal potential in the region with a focus on mainstreaming direct-use application in geothermal development, through the organization of the 7th African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C7) that was held in Kigali, Rwanda. The success of this Conference is reflected, among others, by the big attendance (more than 350 delegates) of the main conference, the 140 successful presentations delivered at the Conference.

A conference report can be downloaded here.

B – African Geothermal Center of Excellence (AGCE)

Transformed the African continent through Capacity and skill development in Geothermal science and Technology

Through the Interim Project Coordination Unit of the African Geothermal Centre of Excellence (IPCU-AGCE) empowered more than 150 home grown experts through UN Environment, to tap into Africa’s 20,000 MW Geothermal Energy. These are women and youth from the thirteen African countries (Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). These experts have developed their capacities and skills in the complete geothermal development value chain; from exploration to development and utilization as geoscientists, engineers and managers. They are currently working on geothermal projects in their countries to maintain the impetus and momentum of geothermal resource exploration and development in the region.

The above includes:

(i) Four parallel Pre-ARGeo C7 short courses where a total of 113 geothermal scientists, engineers and planners from 12 East African countries and other parts of the world were trained. (i) Short Course 1: Management and financing for Geothermal project development; (ii) Short Course 2: Low temperaShort course 3: Geothermal Reservoir engineering and modelling; (iv) Short Course 4: Geothermal Resource: Geothermal Resource Decision Modules 1 and 2: Volcanic and Deep Circulation Models.

(ii) the First Level-1 geothermal training on ‘Introduction to geothermal science and technology’ organized jointly by UN Environment and AU-Africa Energy Commission (AFREC):

Strengthened and enhanced the capacities and skills of a total of 21 young African in geothermal science and technology that came from eleven Eastern African countries. The training was held in Naivasha using Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) in Naivasha.

The UNEP office in Africa also reports on its efforts on:

C – Catalyzed Clean Energy access & Energy Efficiency in Africa and D – Regional Responsive Renewable Energy Information System

Source: UNEP by email