Representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and utility companies from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda attended a seminar in Reykjavik January 13–16 to support the development of clean energy along East Africa´s Rift Valley. The seminar was sponsored by the United States Executive Director’s Office to the AfDB, the US Commercial Service, Ambata Capital Partners, the AfDB, the World Bank and Reykjavik Geothermal which was also the primary organizer.
The seminar provided on-site technical knowledge and awareness to the AfDB team and East African utility company representatives in building capacity for geothermal project development. In addition to attending presentations on geothermal energy, the group was guided around the Hellisheidi geothermal plant and Svartsengi geothermal plant.
President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson provided the audience with a valuable insight and vision through his opening remarks. Luis Arreaga, U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, hosted a reception as part of the bilateral partnership between Iceland and the United States to support clean technology initiatives worldwide.
Unfortunately, Walter Jones, the United States Executive Director at the AfDB was unable to attend but he was quoted saying that “Geothermal energy has the potential to be a major contributing energy resource for East Africa.” He also said that “The Obama Administration is keen to support the development of clean, renewable energy sources around the world, especially in developing nations.”
Africa’s Rift Valley could present an untapped energy potential of 7,000 megawatts or more of electric power. Developing East Africa’s geothermal reserves could significantly increase electricity access rates in the region of about 280 million people. The region’s private sector has identified unreliable electricity supply as a leading constraint to doing business.
Reykjavik Geothermal would like to thank everyone who participated in this constructive and beneficial event for their contribution.