Experts discuss geothermal development

•Virunga volcanic chain main area of interest Geothermal energy experts from Iceland, Kenya and Germany yesterday concluded a two-day meeting in Kigali aimed at exploring ways of exploiting the country’s geothermal energy potential. The experts agreed that a geothermal resource exists near the Karisimbi volcano and that three exploratory wells were sighted near the slopes of the Karisimbi.

•Virunga volcanic chain main area of interest

Geothermal energy experts from Iceland, Kenya and Germany yesterday concluded a two-day meeting in Kigali aimed at exploring ways of exploiting the country’s geothermal energy potential.

The experts agreed that a geothermal resource exists near the Karisimbi volcano and that three exploratory wells were sighted near the slopes of the Karisimbi.

Uwera Rutagarama, who is in charge of geothermal sector development at Mininfra, revealed that Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) was contracted last year to conduct a thorough surface exploration.

“This meeting was basically about presenting the results of the work by KenGen so as to [finally] confirm if we have a geothermal resource and the next step to be taken,” Rutagarama told The New Times yesterday.

“There was a need to first carry out surface exploration whose objective was to locate exact sites for drilling.”

“Geothermal energy sort of relates to volcanism. The main attention we have is around the Virunga area. We are expecting high potential because of the volcanicity there,” Gestur Gislason, a geologist from a geothermal energy corporation in Iceland Gislason noted.

On the final day of the meeting, KenGen’s Nicholas Mariita, highlighted four imperative questions that participants were to address.

These centered on whether; the quality and quantity of the data is enough to make plausible or bankable recommendations; whether drawn conclusions will be scientifically and geologically valid; chances of the existence of an exploitable geothermal resource; and likely impediments to development.

The meeting recommended that several other detailed surveys, including a full environment impact assessment (EIA) study, be carried out.

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