Geothermal drilling to begin in Rwanda in December

geothermal  Bill Wards BrickpileDrilling work for geothermal power in the northwestern part of Rwanda will begin in December 2012

According to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, James Kamanzi, the Rwandan government has already signed a contract with a firm to start the work.

Three potential sites, with a depth of about 3km, have been identified for the project on the southern slopes of the Karisimbi volcano.

Geothermal energy exploitation will involve extracting hot water from geologically active areas and using it to provide heat to generate electricity.

Kamanzi said, “We are already doing some drilling in Karisimbi and have signed a contract with a drilling company. There are three boreholes in Karisimbi. Most of the drilling work will start in December.

“Drilling a bore hole takes three months, and we have three boreholes in Karisimbi. By next year, we will have a better picture on how much steam we have from all these boreholes,” the minister added.

The Karisimbi prospect has been under study since 2008 by the German Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and the infrastructure ministry.

Rwanda is located very near to one of the world’s hottest spots for geothermal activity. Experts have estimated that the geothermal potential of the East African Rift Valley, a geothermal hot-spot that spans 11 countries, is more than 15,000MW. However, the valley’s massive potential has remained largely untapped except for budding projects underway only in Kenya and Ethiopia.

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