Icelandic government agencies and private companies will provide support to the development of geothermal energy in Africa. Preparations are being made for a regional geothermal exploration project in the Bugurama/Ruzizi region in Burundi/Rwanda/DRC. Also, earlier this month, the Icelandic International Development Agency, ICEIDA, has signed a Partnership Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia for geothermal surface exploration and capacity building.
During the first half of 2013, ICEIDA, along with geothermal consultants from Iceland Geosurvey (ISOR), cooperated with the European Union Delegation in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Energy Authority (EGL) in the preparations of the Bugurama/Ruzizi regional geothermal exploration project. The cooperation was part of the ICEIDA/NDF support to geothermal exploration and capacity building in East Africa. (The most potential sites for the development geothermal energy in Africa are concentrated in the eastern part of the continent.)
Under the European Development Fund (EDF) Financing Agreement “Programme de relance de la CEPGL” a contract for the execution of this project was recently awarded to Reykjavik Geothermal (RG) with EGL as the implementing agency. The contract entails that RG will conduct reconnaissance and surface exploration studies at particular sites in the three countries and conduct exploration drilling at a viable target site, subsequent the surface exploration.
The cooperation between ICEIDA, EUD Rwanda and EGL is now set to continue throughout the implementation of this regional exploration project. ICEIDA will provide support for the supervision and monitoring of the exploration studies, which entails that ISOR will provide technical assistance and support to EGL in their implementation role and to EUD as the contracting authority.
As part of the implementation of the project it is also considered important to build capacity in the field of geothermal within EGL and the three countries. For this purpose a short course for decision makers on geothermal development will be held for the project steering committee and representatives from the three countries, in Kenya 25-28 September. The United Nations University Geothermal Training Program (UNU-GTP) will organize the course, in collaboration with KenGen and GDC in Kenya. The immediate objective of this short course is further to equip EGL and the project steering committee with relevant knowledge in geothermal development to administer and manage the regional geothermal exploration project.
Engilbert Gudmundsson, Director General of ICEIDA, says: “I am pleased to see this cooperation result in the take-off of this exciting geothermal exploration project, and that ICEIDA can continue to provide support to the implementation of this project. This cooperation is also exemplary for effective donor coordination in the utilization of funds for geothermal development.”
Marc Buchmann, Head of Infrastructure EU Delegation in Rwanda says: ”We are very pleased to have been able to award this contract thanks to an excellent work collaboration between ICEIDA and the EU delegation. For us, geothermal is a new sector and our experience is very limited. We are therefore all the more grateful for ICEIDA’s contributions to this project in the form of technical assistance, These inputs are not only complementing the EU financing but are moreover essential for the successful implementation of this project. We hope, to be able to build on this partnership for the future as geothermal is a sector which interests us in our bilateral and regional relations.”
Jon Örn Jonsson, Director RG says: “It is clear that the project has been well prepared, with clearly defined outputs and milestones. The experience of ICEIDA and the regional knowledge and experience of the EU delegation in Rwanda will be of considerable benefit for the project. This is the first time that RG and Mannvit collaborate on geothermal exploration and development in East Africa and the award of this contract to the companies demonstrates the strength and competitiveness of Icelandic geothermal knowledge.”
The project implementation is set to start in November.