Africa to attract $35b in geothermal investments by 2050

Zungeru hydropower plant

Africa is projected to attract a minimum of $35 billion in investments for its geothermal sector by the year 2050, highlighting the crucial role geothermal energy is poised to play in addressing the continent's rapidly growing energy needs. According to the latest projections from Rystad Energy, this substantial investment is anticipated to propel Africa's installed geothermal capacity beyond Europe's by the end of the current decade.

Despite Africa currently having approximately 1 gigawatt (GW) of geothermal capacity in 2023, which is half of Europe's total, the overall installed capacity is predicted to more than double by 2030, considering the projects already announced. If undisclosed projects essential for meeting government targets are taken into account, the capacity in Africa could triple by 2030.

The forecast envisions a considerable expansion, with Africa's geothermal power generation capacity expected to reach 13 GW by 2050, surpassing Europe's expected 5.5 GW installed capacity. Many African countries, with geothermal potential, heavily rely on hydropower for electricity supply, and the growing geothermal industry is seen as a significant contributor to meeting the continent's increasing energy demand in the coming decades.

The analysis of announced projects, considering economic factors and demand, indicates substantial growth, elevating Africa from the sixth-largest geothermal power generator in 2023 to the third-largest by 2030. The report emphasizes that integrating more geothermal energy into the power mix can help African nations reduce their dependence on hydropower and mitigate associated risks.

To achieve the projected geothermal capacity of 13 GW in Africa by 2050, Rystad Energy's primary scenario places a heavy reliance on the development of geothermal resources in Kenya and Ethiopia. Kenya, in particular, is highlighted for its commitment to incorporating geothermal energy, backed by abundant resources, local expertise, and increasing interest from international players, with expectations that Kenya will surpass 8 GW of geothermal capacity by 2050.