Africa: Power from the Rift

East Africa’s Rift Valley may be a huge source of geothermal power, and could transform a continent where two billion people have no access to electricity.

SciDev.Net of London reports that pilot drilling in Kenya showed that geothermal energy, which is generated from steam from underground water heated by the Earth’s interior, could be a viable and economic source of power for several African countries.

Heading up the project is the African Rift Geothermal Development Facility, which said if the technology is implemented properly, various geothermal sites in the region could produce at least 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

The Rift Valley spans several countries, including Kenya, Mozambique and Djibouti. If investment plans are successful, the project will expand to Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.

Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program, said geothermal energy “is 100 per cent indigenous, environmentally friendly and a technology that has been underutilized for too long.”

–Julia Hengst/


“East Africa: Geothermal Tests Successful”
SciDev.Net, December 10, 2008

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