22 January 2013

Uganda: Tapping of Geothermal Energy Finalized

KAMPALA, UGANDA is looking at the middle of this year as the time when the country will ascertain the geothermal potential and areas to be drilled.

Speaking to the East African Business Week in an interview last week, Mr. Vincent Kato, the Principal Geologist at Geological Survey and Mines Department said that they had identified sites and four had been developed.

"We are still at the exploration stage and present we have licensed six private companies. So by midyear we shall be in a better position to ascertain which areas we need to drill," Kato said.

He added that three geothermal prospective sites; Kibiro in Hoima, Katwe in Kasese and Panyimur in Nebbi are being prioritized and funded by the government but that no drilling had yet taken place.

According to renewableenergyworld.com, geothermal energy is the heat from the earth. It's clean and sustainable.

Resources of geothermal energy range from the shallow ground to hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the earth's surface, and down even deeper to the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma.

Geothermal energy can be used directly or indirectly for generating electrical energy. The steam goes to a turbine, which drives a generator that produces electricity.

Kato also added that Uganda was in the process of formulating the Geothermal Policy and Geothermal Act so as to regulate activity in the sector.

"We are drafting a white paper with the help of KFW and GIZ but we also need to have our internal white paper. In that regard, we are looking at the region and the legislations therein so as to harmonize the policies," he said. In East Africa, Kenya is the only country with a developed geothermal plant at Olkaria, generating 167 MW.

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