Africa eyes geothermal power
December 12, 2008
Geothermal — the tapping of steam from hot underground rocks — could provide a source of clean, renewable energy in parts of Africa where electricity is currently limited, according to an assessment by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The project, funded by the GEF and involving UNEP and the Kenyan power company KenGen, found a number wells of steam in the Rift Valley capable of generating 4-5 MW of electricity. Harnessing this power source could significantly cut the electricity costs says UNEP.
“Combating climate change while simultaneously getting energy to the two billion people without access to it are among the central challenges of this generation. Geothermal is 100 per cent indigenous, environmentally-friendly and a technology that has been under-utilized for too long”.
“There are least 4,000MW of electricity ready for harvesting along the Rift. It is time to take this technology off the back burner in order to power livelihoods, fuel development and reduce dependence on polluting and unpredictable fossil fuels. From the place where human-kind took its first faltering steps is emerging one of the answers to its continued survival on this planet,”
The results could lead to the development of geothermal generation up and down the Rift, which runs from Mozambique in the South to Djibouti in the North.
Google, Australia give big boost to geothermal energy August 20, 2008
Geothermal energy got a big boost this week with Google and the Australian government announcing multi-million initiatives that make use of Earth’s heat as a clean and renewable source of power. Tuesday Google.org, the philanthropic arm of search giant Google, said it will invest $10 million in “enhanced geothermal systems” (EGS) to improve the potential of geothermal energy, which harnesses the heat of Earth’s core to generate power. The EGS process works by effectively mimicking a geyser. Water is pumped through holes drilled into the hot rock deep below Earth’s surface. The resulting heated water and steam is then used produce electricity in a conventional turbine. A study published this past January by MIT researchers estimated that just 2 percent of the heat below the continental United States between 3 and 10 kilometers deep is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use.