Video – Geothermal development ambitions of Uganda, Africa
With existing above surface manifestations of geothermal energy resources, Uganda has great potential and ambition to utilise this form of energy for power generation, but also direct use applications as a recent TV report highlighted.
One country in the East African Rift system that has not got as much attention, yet has some interesting geothermal development options is Uganda.
The country has been looking at how to utilise its geothermal resources, with first exploration activities done in 1993. The studies by the Ministry responsible for Energy and Mineral Development have focused on four major geothermal areas namely Katwe, Buranga, Kibiro, and Panyimur.
In the Country Update released in conjunction with the World Geothermal Congress 2020, it is described that three areas namely Kibiro, Panyimur and Buranga have reached advanced stages of surface exploration, subsurface conceptual models have been developed and temperature gradient wells (TGW) sited at all the three prospects. Drilling of TGW started in April 2020, as we reported. Drilling though was halted pending an environmental study to be conducted.
Uganda geothermal resources are estimated at about 1,500 MW from 24 areas in the Ugandan Rift System (Uganda Vision, 2040). Most of the geothermal areas of Uganda are located in the Western Rift Valley that runs along the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is part of the Western Branch of the East African Rift System (Figure 1). The main geothermal areas are Katwe-Kikorongo (Katwe), Buranga, Kibiro and Panyimur located in Kasese, Bundibugyo, Hoima and Pakwach districts respectively. Other geothermal areas are located in the Southwest, North and Northeast Uganda.
In a recent TV report, Godfrey Bahati, Commercial Geothermal Resources, Ministry of Energy of Uganda shares some insights on the plans and efforts done in Uganda on geothermal development describing that the country’s first geothermal project could be ready in 2025.