Widespread use of geothermal energy in East Africa

Project summary

The project aims at providing the scientific, technological and policy basis required for the widespread utilization of geothermal resources in East Africa. We will provide the basis to evaluate the potential of low- and medium-temperature geothermal resources, and develop technological solutions for their use, providing sustainable and reliable energy (electricity and heating/cooling). Access to green, cheap energy will support the sustainable growth and decarbonization of the economy. Although the geothermal sector is well developed in Kenya for high-temperature sources, the utilization of low- and medium-temperature sources in the East Africa is mostly unexplored. The proposed solution for low- and medium-temperature reservoirs consists of a novel integration of multi-generation energy technologies that maximize conversion efficiencies while minimizing costs. We will explore the potential of selected reservoirs through integrated geoscientific studies, incorporating drilling, field and production data. A prototype plant at the Olkaria field (Kenya) will be constructed.

A training program for geothermal professionals will be developed, providing skills on well construction, subsurface and reservoir modeling, and advanced multi-generation systems. Industry partners will provide field-knowledge, end-user cases, and practical experience at the prototype plant. The collaboration with governmental organizations through UNEP Africa Office will support the development of clear, coherent and harmonized policy and regulatory frameworks, reducing associated risks of geothermal projects and facilitating the expansion of geothermal energy in EA.

The project contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2060: affordable and clean energy (Goal 7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (Goal 9), sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), and climate action (Goal 13).

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