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Plans to boost geothermal power

East African countries have put in place plans to dramatically increase electricity generated from "hot rocks" by 2020. The plans to boost the region's geothermal energy capacity were drawn up at a key meeting of experts at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. During the meeting, government experts, scientists, engineers and private sector representatives from 10 countries in the region set a "challenging yet achievable target" to develop 1,000 MW of geothermal power across East Africa. This is equivalent to the electricity needs of several million people in the region by 2020, UNEP said in a statement. The experts, from the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, stressed that geothermal energy was environmentally clean and, unlike hydro-electricity, was not vulnerable to droughts. "It also is not prone to unpredictable price fluctuations as can be the case with oil-fired power generation," the statement added. Geothermal technology, which harnesses steam produced by hot rocks deep in the earth to generate electricity, is considered to be a promising form of renewable energy, whose potential - particularly in the Great Rift Valley region - had until now remained largely untapped, UNEP added.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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