Uganda has announced its intention to start a geothermal resources department within its Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, according to published reports. The move is an effort to fast track the development of geothermal energy in the east African nation.
In one of these reports, written by Ibrahim Kasita of the online publication New Vision, Uganda believes the existence of recent volcanic activity in the western rift valley makes the region ideal for geothermal energy due to relatively high heat flow rates in the area.
Of course, Uganda is not the first African nation to create governmental entities to harness geothermal resources. Kenya led the way with the creation of its Geothermal Development Company in December 2008, and since then, Tanzania has announced its intention to follow suit.
The Ugandan effort is receiving technical assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency which is already assessing geothermal resource sites across the country and ranking them in terms of the prospects for successful development.
New Vision reports the government is conducting surface studies at four sites: Panyimur (Nebbi), Kibiro (Hoima), Katwe-Kikorongo (Kasese) and Buranga (Bundibugyo-Ntoroko).