East African nations have drawn up plans to significantly increase the production of electricity from ‘hot rocks’ deep in the Earth.
Government energy experts, scientists, engineers and members of the private sector pledged at a meeting organised by the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, last week to generate 1,000 megawatts of energy in East Africa by 2020 using steam produced from rocks.
Kenya, which has pioneered the use of such geothermal energy in the region, currently produces 45 megawatts of electricity from the technique. Participants emphasised that geothermal energy is clean and that, unlike other energy sources, is not affected by weather conditions or price fluctuations.
The meeting, called the Eastern African Geothermal Energy Week, brought together delegates from the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Delegates committed their countries to sharing expertise, to working together to reduce development costs, to promoting public-private partnerships to accelerate geothermal development in the region and to lobbying donors for increased funding of geothermal projects.
© SciDev.Net 2003External related links:Eastern African Geothermal Energy Week United Nations Environment Programme