The beneficiaries’ country of geothermal power will include Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.
The UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) will assist six East Africa states to tap 500 MW of geothermal power in the next five years.
Programme Manager for the UNEP’s African Rift Geothermal Development Facility Meseret Zemedkun told Xinhua in Nairobi that it has set aside 4.7 million U.S. dollars to catalyze the growth of geothermal power in the region.
“Our role will be to assist national governments to identify the exact location of their geothermal resources as well mitigate risks associated with exploration,” Zemedkum said on the sidelines of the workshop on the Women Entrepreneurship in Renewable Energy Project.
enya has so far utilized over 280 MW of geothermal power. The rest of the nations are yet to tap into the renewable energy power. The East Africa Rift System has an estimated potential of 20,000 MW with Kenya alone having 7,000 MW.
Zemedkum said geothermal also has direct use application in the agricultural and acquaculture fields, adding that geothermal, unlike other sources of power, is indigenous and never gets depleted.
The UNEP official said the resource has a high degree of availability compared to other renewable sources of energy such as hydropower and solar power.
Experts said the region’s energy poverty remains an obstacle to economic and human development.
The program manager urged regional governments to put in place adequate policies that will attract private sector funding into the sector.