In an announcement today, the New Zealand Government and the African Union Commission (AUC) announce having appointed Mr Markos Melaku as Facility Manager to establish and implement the New Zealand-Africa Geothermal Facility (NZ-AGF). Mr Melaku is a professional engineer with extensive public and private sector geothermal experience in Africa, South East Asia and New Zealand. Mr Melaku will be located at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and play an integral leadership role to establish the Facility and identify opportunities to deploy New Zealand’s geothermal expertise in the region through the NZ-AGF.
The NZ AGF will provide responsive, flexible and timely geothermal technical assistance and capacity building within East African countries and, as appropriate, assist with funding applications to the existing Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF), in order to help develop regional geothermal energy resources.
The facility – managed under the New Zealand Aid Programme – will have a budget of some $NZD10 million over the next five years. The overall goal of the NZ-AGF is to expand access to affordable, reliable and clean energy in East African nations from geothermal energy resources.
The GRMF was established by the AUC in 2012 with the objective to encourage public and private investors to develop geothermal prospects for power generation in East Africa by providing cost sharing grants for surface studies and drilling confirmation wells. To date, the GRMF has achieved significant success in supporting geothermal energy development by awarding around USD 90 million in grants for 26 projects in Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. For details, please visit the GRMF website: http://www.grmf-eastafrica.org.
New Zealand’s Ambassador to the African Union, Mr. Bruce Shepherd, described New Zealand as having “world-class geothermal expertise that has been instrumental in geothermal projects around the globe. New Zealand’s geothermal industry is recognized as an international centre of excellence and partner of choice.” He added “this new facility will reinforce relationships between New Zealand and East Africa established through geothermal collaboration more than 40 years ago”.
New Zealand is the fourth largest generator of geothermal power in the world, and geothermal contributed approximately 20% of the country’s electricity last year; the use of geothermal heat in industrial and agricultural processing has been important for many years and is receiving renewed attention. New Zealand is keen to share this experience with East African countries where there is a growing focus on their geothermal potential.
This Facility is implemented under the New Zealand and the African Union Commission Partnership Arrangement signed at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in June, 2017.