8th African Rift Geothermal Conference highlights commitment to clean energy in Africa
The 8th African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo) successfully concluded this week. Held virtually, it brought together the African and international geothermal community highlighting the continents commitment to geothermal energy and the use of clean and renewable energy.
The virtual Eighth African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C8) welcomed more than 500 local, regional and international geothermal experts, policy makers, developers and financiers from all over the world earlier this week. The event closed yesterday, November 6, 2020.
The conference was a mix of five plenary and five parallel technical sessions with more than 150 technical papers. The parallel technical sessions focused on Geothermal Policy, Institutional and Regulatory Framework; Financing and Project Management, Resource Exploration: Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Drilling, Reservoir Engineering, and Utilization in terms of Power production and Direct Use Application. A total of 90 technical papers were virtually presented and the rest in a poster session by the close of the conference. The conference was preceded by two days of pre-conference short courses where a total of 200 representatives were trained from the region.
The opening Ceremony was graced by the former President of Iceland and Global Geothermal Ambassador, H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson – the Guest of honour, Hon. Charles Keter, Cabinet Secretary of Ministry of Energy, Kenya, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid – African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director for Africa – Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoupko. – Dr. Eng. Joseph Njoroge – PS Ministry of Energy, Kenya, Andy Blair – President of the IGA, Eng. Jared O. Othieno – CEO and MD of GDC, Eng. Abel Rotich – Geothermal Development Director of KenGen (on behalf of the CEO/MD of KeNGen), also graced the event and gave opening remarks.
Speaking during the opening, H.E. Olafur Ragnar Grimson applauded the readiness and commitment of African countries to take the path of developing the clean and renewable energy resources i.e. geothermal to drive the sustainable socio-economic development of the continent. He affirmed to the participants the significant and vital contribution of geothermal resources for ICELAND to become one of the first developed Economy countries today. In line with that, H. E Grimson encouraged the African countries to follow the path of Iceland and use their indigenous resources to drive their socio economy to eradicate poverty.
In his opening remarks,Hon.Charles Keter,emphasized the need for Innovation and capacity building in geothermal development to empower the economic and social growth in the continent. In recognition of the outcome of this conference to promote regional cooperation and set the stage for exchange of information on exploration, development, Investment and utilization of resources in the region. “This Conference provides Kenya with a Platform to build partnership with other Africa Countries, who are in their various stages and geothermal development to deepen cooperation in skill, capacity and technology transfer”, he added.
In her opening remarks, said Dr. Amani Abou- Zeid, the Africa Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy “The African Union recognizes the need for regional cooperation, the private sector participation and international institutions to invest in order to accelerate the development of geothermal resources in the region.. She affirmed the need for capacity and skill development of home grown experts through regional institutions such as through African Geothermal Center of Excellence. She also reiterated the need for the women to be visible and be mainstreamed throughout the geothermal value chain.
Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Regional Director for Africa, UNEP pointed out that the conference will contribute to the achievement of the “UN Sustainable Energy for All” initiative launched in 2012 by the UN Secretary General. It also responds to the Global and continental sustainable development policy and strategic processes, and is aligned with the 10-year framework action plan of the African Union Agenda 2063. “Renewable energy can and will change the African energy challenges and narrative. Energy-use statistics in Africa reveal a worrying scenario; Africa has 13 % of the global population, yet its share in global electricity consumption is less than 3%, and only 25% of Africans have access to electricity. More than 70% of Africa is dependent on traditional biomass fuels”, she added.
We will share more on the event.