EAPIC to focus on rural geothermal energy, say organisers

UnderpaidGeothermalThe conference is expected to attract around 2,000 visitors. (Image source: DPX)The upcoming East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi, Kenya will focus on how the region can harness the opportunities presented by geothermal power among rural communities, organisers have said

The 18th EAPIC conference and exhibition is expected to gather more than 2,000 visitors from more than 30 countries, including from the region's leading power utilities, large industries and investors, as well as dozens of technology and service providers who will showcase their products at the KICC in Nairobi from 21-22 September.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing geothermal. It's an amazing source of base load, renewable energy, but we have to take a realistic approach to how it's developed," said Amanda Lonsdale, the institutional and commercial development advisor for the East Africa Geothermal Energy Facility (EAGER). Established by the British Department for International Development (DFID), EAGER facilitates the development of geothermal energy for power generation and other uses in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

Lonsdale said in a statement last week that there is a need to develop the regulatory regimes, technical and financial capabilities of the regional countries, adding that people need to educate themselves about geothermal, and learn from those who have successfully developed projects in the past.

"Geothermal has to compete with traditionally less expensive energy sources such as hydro and gas for its position in a region's base load, so it's unlikely to become the dominant source for base load power, but it could displace more expensive, less clean sources," she said.

Rwanda's former minister of state for energy, water and communication, Albert Butare, will be one of the participants at the two-day meeting. Butare, also the Africa Energy Services Group CEO, will chair a session on, "What does the Future Hold for the East Africa Energy Market?"

During the conference, there will be sessions on geothermal business models for the region, financial de-risking and a look at critical factors for an enabling environment for geothermal development, the statement said.

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