If the rising price of oil has a negative impact on the economies of wealthy countries, it is devastating for poor, debt-ridden countries. This article in Reuters Science News talks about a UN initiative to tap into the geothermal potential that lies beneath Africa.
As heavily indebted Africa sinks under rising oil prices, a U.N.-sponsored project aims to give the continent access to vast reserves of cheap, clean energy.
The African Rift Geothermal facility project aims to tap the heat trapped in rocks deep beneath the floor of the geological feature that runs from the Red Sea to Mozambique.
"Oil today is $57 a barrel. That is sucking up every cent of development aid to Africa," a spokesman for the U.N. Environment Programme said...
...The Rift Valley runs through Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Malawi through Mozambique.
"The potential benefit for these energy-starved countries is vast," the UNEP spokesman said.
...But there are huge technical let alone financial obstacles to overcome first.
The existing drilling technology -- mostly based on oil exploration -- is not suited to the very high temperatures experienced when trying to tap geothermal sources and start-up costs can be prohibitive.
The UN and its partners are busy raising the finance for the pilot project which they hope will get under way this year.