Engineering firm Verkís has recently been awarded a grant from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs‘ Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund to explore opportunities for direct geothermal utilisation in Djibouti. Research in the last few decades has shown that there are opportunities for developing geothermal energy in Djibouti, yet greater geothermal utilisation has not been achieved. The grant is for a preliminary study to determine if direct geothermal utilisation is possible in the area of Lake Assal. If successful, opportunities will open for developing economic activity based on geothermal utilisation in the area around the lake. Furthermore, this could open opportunities for more geothermal development in the country. The project is in line with Iceland‘s development cooperation goals to promote human rights, sustainability, and environmental protection. The projects also supports Sustainable Development Goals 8 and 13 on decent work and economic growth and climate action. Special attention will be given to how the project could support goal number 5 on gender equality.
The project will be carried out in partnership with the Djiboutian Office of Geothermal Development (ODDEG). The office is responsible for supporting the development of geothermal resources and geothermal projects to enhance the nation’s living standards and thus decrease oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions Verkís has previously taken part in projects in Djibouti and is very familiar with the situation on the ground in regards to energy security, gender equality, and poverty.
Projects like this can make a big difference, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir. If successful, it will increase resilience in a vulnerable society, create jobs and stimulate economic growth based on sustainable resource use. “Projects like the one Verkís has planned in Djibouti are a great fit with Iceland’s development policy to promote the development of renewable energy in developing countries. Icelandic companies are at the forefront of geothermal technology and I’m certain that Verkís’s preliminary study will lead to larger projects utilising Djibouti’s geothermal resources directly,” says Minister Gylfadóttir.
The Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund aims to support Icelandic companies who are interested in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through cooperative projects in developing countries. Further information on the fund is available at www.mfa.is/sdgfund. The next deadline for applications is 3 October 2022.