The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs has made an agreement with the World Bank on collaborating on the harnessing of geothermal energy in the countries in the East African Great Rift Valley, as announced yesterday.
Geothermal energy in Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
These are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea, Kenya, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Burundi, Ruanda, Zambia and Somalia, as stated in a press release from the Foreign Ministry.
These countries suffer energy shortages while experts believe that in the Great Rift Valley, which is 6,000 kilometers long, it is possible to harness up to 14,000 MW of geothermal energy and thus provide 150 million people with access to energy.
The collaboration involves Iceland assisting countries in the region to estimate where the best geothermal areas are located, conduct necessary basic studies and assist with making strategies on drilling to estimate the extent of the resource.
The World Bank will use its own means for funding to enable states to conduct the necessary feasibility studies and launch experimental drilling.
Afterwards, it will be possible to embark on organized power plant operations for electricity production and the manifold usage of geothermal heat for employment purposes.
The 13 states are at different stages in harnessing geothermal energy. Kenya, for example, has already harnessed a significant amount of geothermal energy and has grand plans for further power plants, whereas other countries, like Burundi, are in the initial stages.
The collaboration between Iceland and the World Bank assumes varied assistance to each state although they will all be assisted at some level.
The collaboration is also open for the participation of other countries and institutions and both parties will work on fundraising from international financial institutions, among others.