Geothermal Energy in Zimbabwe

Significant Opportunities

Continuing a series of posts about increased energy opportunities in African countries, here is a short flyer about Geothermal in Zimbabwe. Resilient energy systems should be a mix of renewables and baseload, and Geothermal is both – clean, persistent, environmentally sustainable.
African Energy Chamber ‘s #aew2021 in Cape Town is coming and African countries are focussed on addressing energy poverty, improving electrification and living standards, increasing clean water and improved sanitation, education and growing their economies. Geothermal is an economic opportunity to help support a stronger Energy Mix including clean gas.

  • Underlying most of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Craton is connected through the Limpopo Belt to the larger Kaapvaal Craton, and both are surrounded by mobile orogenic belts. There is a large number of greenstone belts with many more granitic intrusions. Shear zones have caused some crustal thickening with lower crustal partial melting and the subsequent intrusion of large sheet plutons in the upper crust. Substantial crustal heat flows were present around these margins and intrusions. The mineral rich Great Dyke is a ~500km long by 3-12km wide ultramafic/mafic igneous complex that is able to be seen from space;
  • Zimbabwe has been blessed with a significant amount of valuable metallic ore precipitation associated with hydrothermal mineralisation flows (e.g., auriferous fluids) or remobilisations that carried significant heat into adjacent rock formations along with the ore deposits. After the ores were deposited, the thermal brine stopped in hydrothermal reservoirs with impermeable rock lithologies blocking further fluid and heat migration;
  • Thermal hot springs are located in Binga and Manicaland. More than 30# spring sites have been identified across the country with a maximum surface temperature of ~90°C. Thermal springs are mostly associated with fault systems and intrusive rock formations;
  • Clean, environmentally sustainable renewable Geothermal Energy is possible thanks to modern, low and medium enthalpy Binary ORC power generation solutions. Good geoscience tools are available to help incrementally explore and de-risk the areas of potentially suitable heat energy sources before more expensive drilling is required;
  • Very attractive Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is commercially feasible for many developments to help improve electrification, replace aging coal fired power plants, reduce energy poverty, and increase grid resilience across Zimbabwe.

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