16 August 2012
Rwanda to begin geothermal energy drilling
The geothermal potential of the East African Rift Valley, a geothermal hot-spot that spans 11 countries, is more than 15,000 megawatts. But the valley's massive potential remains largely untapped except for budding projects underway only in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Now Rwanda, locating astride the hot spot, has announced that drilling for geothermal power in the north-western part of the country is set to begin in December, writes The New Times.
Preliminary findings in early 2011 by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), which was contracted in 2010 to conduct a thorough surface exploration of geothermal energy, indicated that Rwanda's potential is more than 700 megawatts.
The search for geothermal resources in Rwanda, started way back in 2006 as government looked to diversify energy sources in the generation of electricity.
Prospective areas for geothermal potential include; Volcanoes National Park (Karisimbi and Kinigi), the hot springs of Gisenyi and Bugarama in the western part of the country.
The Karisimbi prospect has been under study since 2008 by the German Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), and KenGen as well as the Infrastructure Ministry.
According to UPI.com, electricity accounts for only about 4 percent of primary energy use in Rwanda, with the nation having roughly 96 megawatts of installed capacity, with only 13 percent of households connected to the national grid.
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