ARGeo on harnessing the geothermal potential of Eritrea
His Excellency Sebhat Efrem, Minister of Energy and Mines, meeting with UNEP officials
By Francisco Rojas
Through the GEF Funded African Rift Geothermal Development Facility project UNEP is engaged in supporting Eritrea in the surface exploration of the Alid geothermal prospect.
In this month’s newsletter from ARGeo, a special coverage on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been done stating that the UNEP has thrown its weight behind Eritrea’s vision of advancing clean energy development in the country. Through the GEF Funded African Rift Geothermal Development Facility project (ARGeo) which promotes geothermal resource exploration, development and utilization in African countries, UNEP is engaged in supporting Eritrea ( an “ARGeo country” ) through the Ministry of Mines and Energy , in the geothermal resource development particularly in the surface exploration of the Alid geothermal prospect in Eritrea.
The results of this study will provide information on location of target sites for drilling and minimizes risk of drilling dry wells while maximizing the chance of productive wells.The project will also assist Eritrea in preparing the proposal for the financial support from the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) of the African Union Commission-German Development Bank (KfW) for subsequent drilling.
Geothermal energy development in Eritrea will have an important input in alleviating expenditure on foreign currency while safeguarding the environment from adverse impact of fossil fuels. In this context, a joint UNEP-ICEIDA (Icelandic International development Agency) team visited Eritrea in January 2015. The main objective was to discuss with high level delegates and with geothermal stakeholders in Eritrea on implementing “surface exploration studies” in the Alid geothermal prospect in the framework of the ARGeo project. The team had successful meetings (and a field visit to Alid) with His Excellency General Sebhat Efrem (Minister of Energy and Mines) and his team. In addition, important discussions were held on Eritrea hosting of the Sixth ARGeo biennial conference (ARGeo-C 6) in 2016 and private developers.
IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: In consultation with the Eritrean team, the UNEP-ICEIDA team developed a detailed implementation plan of the Alid surface studies.The Ministry of Energy and Mines including various stakeholders affirmed their continuous leadership, engagement and support for effective and efficient implementation of the surface studies in Alid as well as in hosting of the ARGeo C6 in Eritrea in October 2016.
Related Reading: Could the Red Sea be a natural dam for Eritrea?
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