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New Tool Sheds Light on Global Geothermal Energy Potentials

Uganda has not utilized its geothermal energy potential because of high exploration and investments costs. The costs may soon go down with a new tool launched to help countries investigate their geothermal potential.
16 Apr 2015 14:40
Henning Wuester, IRENA, Director on Policy and Finance Centre.

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Uganda has not utilized its geothermal energy potential because of high exploration and investments costs. The costs may soon go down with a new tool launched to help countries investigate their geothermal potential.  

The tool launched ahead of next week\'s World Geothermal Congress in Melbourne, Australia enables countries to investigate their geothermal potential using satellite maps.

The tool produced in collaboration between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), is now freely available for countries like Uganda.

As geothermal energy exists underground, it is extremely difficult to measure. Accordingly, exploration is expensive, time consuming, and risky for investors and governments.

State Minister for Energy, Simon D\'Ujanga in an interview  said geothermal unlike other renewable energy sources like hydro power requires huge initial investments.  

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Geothermal energy Uganda has an estimated geothermal resource potential of 450 MW, mainly located in the Western Rift valley\'s Katwe Kikorongo, Buranga and Kibiro.

Henning Wuester , Director of International Renewable Energy Agency\'s Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre says the e maps can help make a strong business case for geothermal development where none existed before.

He says the tool provides a short-cut for lengthy and costly explorations and unlocks the potential of geothermal energy as a reliable and clean contribution to the world\'s energy mix.

The maps use satellite gravity measurements to look for certain characteristics unique to geothermal reservoirs, including areas with thin crusts.

This helps determine which areas are most likely to possess geothermal potential, narrowing the search for prospectors.

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