Africa’s geothermal sector is expected to attract a minimum of $35 billion in investments by 2050, according to a recent report from Rystad Energy. Investment will primarily target projects in Kenya and Ethiopia’s East African Rift, which will account for approximately 90% of Africa’s 13 GW geothermal capacity projected to be in place by 2050.
Based on these projections, Africa will become the third-largest geothermal power generator by 2030, with a total installed capacity surpassing that of Europe.
“The geothermal industry in Africa is picking up steam and could meet soaring demand across the continent in the decades to come,” stated Daniel Holmedal, Senior Supply Chain Analyst at Rystad Energy. “Analyzing already announced projects signals significant growth on the horizon, but developments that we project to come online given economics and demand really highlight the rapid build out.”
Kenya’s Olkaria Geothermal Power Station – the largest in Africa – boasts a total capacity of 750 MW and accounts for approximately 51% of the country’s total installed capacity. The facility features four geothermal plants, the Olkaria I-IV, which utilize steam from wells drilled to a depth of 3,000 m in the Olkaria geothermal resource in the East African Rift.
As a result of the project’s success, Kenya’s state-owned Geothermal Development Company has spearheaded the development of several new geothermal projects, including the 465 MW Menengai Geothermal Project, the 750 MW Suswa Geothermal Project, and the Baringo-Silali Geothermal Project, which is currently being drilled.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s Aluto-Langano Geothermal Power Station produces 7.3 MW of power at one of the country’s 22 power plants. The government has targeted 35,000 MW of installed capacity for domestic needs and for export by 2050, with up to 17 geothermal projects in the country currently in development, which include the Tulu Moye, Aluto-Langano and Corbetti Geothermal Power Stations.
Leading the growth of Africa’s geothermal sector, Ethiopia and Kenya are projected to supply a combined 222 TwH of geothermal power by 2050, up from its current capacity of 34 TWh.