The Government of Ethiopia hosted the sixth African Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C6) in the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 2 to 4 November 2016. The ARGeo-C6 is organised under the auspices of the UNEP-ARGeo Programme and is one of its biennial geothermal conferences.
ARGeo-C6 was officially opened on 2nd November by H.E. Motuma Mekasa Ethiopia’s Minister for Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas. Mekasa observed, “Governments need to create adequate enabling laws and a supportive regulatory framework that will make the utilization of geothermal resources possible.”
Geothermal power plant in Kenya
Mekasa went on to say “Power shortage and high cost of power undermine efforts to combat poverty and that African countries need to work together in solving the current financing, technology and implementation capacity challenges associated with the development of renewable energy in general and in geothermal energy in particular.”
“Africa’s doors are open to the private sector for the establishment of mutually beneficial collaboration in developing Africa’s vast geothermal resources,’ Mekasa added.
In her address, Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Regional Director, UN Environment Office for Africa, said “While in the short term the bulk of energy needs are, and will be met by fossil fuels and hydropower, geothermal energy is increasingly seen as part of the solution for energy in the countries of the Great African Rift Valley.”
“The unpredictability of fossil fuel-sourced energy undermines the economic competitiveness of the continent; this is where geothermal energy comes in since it is least cost and the investment is predicable over the time of the power plant,” added Dr. Biao.
Regarding capacity building, Dr. Biao further noted, “The ARGeo program is moving from project based capacity building towards matured institutional strengthening and is currently providing technical backstopping for the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE) to be hosted by the Government of Kenya, being the regional leader in geothermal development in Africa.”
This Conference is a biennial geothermal conferences. The five previous biennial conferences were held in Ethiopia (2006), Uganda (2008), Djibouti (2010), Kenya (2012) and Tanzania (2014).
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