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Geothermal Centre of Excellence to be established in Kenya

Geothermal stakeholders in the African Rift Valley gathered 12-13 August in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the possibility of establishing an Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence in Kenya.

The energy need in Africa is huge and the demand is constantly increasing. Many countries in the East Africa Rift Valley are hoping that geothermal energy can be a part of their energy solution. Geothermal energy is seen as an attractive energy source as it is renewable, CO2 emissions are low and it can provide stable and reliable base-load power at a relatively low cost.

The countries in the East Africa Rift Valley region are at various stages of their geothermal development. Kenya is, for example, the only country with geothermal power plants currently up and running, Ethiopia has verified resources and is expected to be able to produce and sell electricity in the near future, but most of the countries are still in the process of exploring their geothermal potential.

UNEP has recently conducted a regional geothermal skills gap analysis, which shows that if the countries intend to continue to explore and develop their geothermal resources, there is a serious need for skilled manpower in all fields, such as geology, geochemistry, reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, environmental planning, project management, etc.

For many years, there have been discussions about establishing a geothermal training centre in Africa. In an effort to take this one step further, NDF and ICEIDA funded a feasibility study to look at the concept of establishing an Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence. A draft report of the study was presented to geothermal stakeholders during a validation workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, last week. The purpose of the workshop was to gain valuable input and comments on the report from the countries, the development partners and other stakeholders, as well as to agree on the concept of establishing a Geothermal Centre of Excellence. All thirteen Rift Valley countries1 as well as the other stakeholders agreed that a “lean and mean” Geothermal Centre of Excellence should be established in Kenya. A  Steering Committee was set up that will now continue the process of establishing the Geothermal Centre of Excellence.

The final feasibility report, which will include all comments and decisions made during the workshop, will be prepared by the consulting company in the upcoming weeks.

The workshop gathered over 80 participants at the UN Complex in Nairobi.

1The African Rift Valley Countries: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.


More information

Geothermal Exploration Project [NCF C48]