Investments in Africa’s geothermal sector expected to hit $35bn
A recent report from Rystad Energy, a Norwegian energy research firm, sheds light on the potential of geothermal energy to play a pivotal role in meeting the rising energy demands in Africa over the next few decades. The continent is set to make significant strides in the field of geothermal energy, transitioning from the sixth-largest geothermal power producer in 2023 to the third-largest by 2030.
The report's projections suggest that investments in Africa's geothermal energy sector are expected to surge to at least $35 billion between 2024 and 2050, primarily propelled by the escalating energy requirements in East Africa.
Kenya and Ethiopia are poised to lead this growth, contributing to nearly 90% of the total geothermal capacity. Their rich geothermal resources, coupled with Ethiopia's imperative to diversify its power sector, which is currently 88% reliant on hydroelectric power, are the driving forces behind the expansion of geothermal installations in this region, as outlined in the report.
There is a growing interest in harnessing geothermal energy resources in African countries situated along the same East African Rift System, which is currently being utilized by Ethiopia and Kenya. These countries include Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Eritrea. In Tanzania, for example, around 50 potential sites have been identified for generating geothermal electricity. Kenya's electricity generation company, KenGen, is leveraging its expertise and technical knowledge to explore drilling opportunities not only in Tanzania but also in Malawi. In fact, KenGen is already operating drilling sites in Ethiopia and Djibouti. According to information from the United Nations Environment Program and the Infrastructure Consortium, the geothermal potential capacity for eastern Africa surpasses 20 gigawatts (GW), underscoring the substantial opportunities that lie ahead in the region for geothermal energy development. This points to a promising future for geothermal energy in the East African region.