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UNEP and GEF Announce Completion of Test Geothermal Energy Project in East-Africa

 African Rift Geothermal Facility (ARGeo) 9 December 2008: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have announced the completion of the nearly US$1 million Joint Geophysical Imaging project in Kenya. The project tested new seismic and drilling techniques to tap steam from hot underground rocks, and found wells of steam able to generate 4-5 MW of electricity, with one well yielding 8 MW.

Funded by the GEF, the test project demonstrated that using

geothermal energy is both cost-effective and technologically feasible.

Based on these results, an international effort to expand geothermal

power in the Rift Valley will proceed. The GEF Council approved the

Africa Rift Valley Geothermal Development Facility in 2006. The

project, which involves UNEP and the World Bank, will underwrite the

risks of drilling in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and

Tanzania. [UNEP Press Release]