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Barriers of Geothermal Exploration in Cameroon

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The presence of an active volcanic line in Cameroon, coupled with thermal springs and frequent eruptions of Mount Cameroon are in favour of the development of a geothermal industry that can provide clean and renewable energy. However, no feasibility studies have been carried out to identify the full potential of geothermal in Cameroon since the reconnaissance work of Le Maréchal (1976) who recorded 130 thermal springs concentrated in the corridor of the Cameroon Volcanic Line. This study primary aims at reviewing the issue of geothermal exploration in Cameroon with an emphasis on the existing barriers for its development and the level of awareness of academics about geothermal energy as a barrier to the development of geothermal energy. A review of the literature regarding the energy sector in Cameroon was firstly conducted. Furthermore, a survey on 175 Postgraduate students in Geology of the University of Yaounde I was carried out in June 2018 using a self-developed questionnaire. The literature was analysed using thematic analysis and the questionnaire was analysed using the STATA software. The literature revealed that poor policies, insufficient financial resources, untrained personnel, constrained environments, and unawareness of stakeholders, investors and academics are the main obstacles for geothermal exploration in Cameron. The insufficient and inadequate knowledge of academics about geothermal energy has been highlighted by the results of the survey. Geothermal energy is still underexplored and underexploited in Cameroon. It is therefore recommended that an initial exploration in Cameroon has to be done through a surface exploration by combining geological, geochemical and geophysical methods. Through these, Keutchafo et al. it is expected that information on the location, area, extent, volume, geometry, boundary conditions of resource, permeability, density, heat capacity and conductivity of the potential geothermal resources should be obtained. Finally, awareness on geothermal exploration should be increased.
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Proceedings, 7th African Rift Geothermal Conference
Kigali, Rwanda 31st October 2nd November 2018
Barriers of Geothermal Exploration in Cameroon
Noël-Aimée Kouamo Keutchafo*, Peguy Noel Nemzoue NKouamen, Jean-Pierre
Tchouankoue.
University of Yaounde I, Cameroon
Department of Earth Sciences
P.O. Box: 812 Yaounde-Cameroon
*Email: keutchafonoel@yahoo.fr
Keywords
Geothermal exploration, thermal springs, obstacles, Cameroon Volcanic Line.
ABSTRACT
The presence of an active volcanic line in Cameroon, coupled with thermal springs and
frequent eruptions of Mount Cameroon are in favour of the development of a geothermal
industry that can provide clean and renewable energy. However, no feasibility studies have
been carried out to identify the full potential of geothermal in Cameroon since the
reconnaissance work of Le Maréchal (1976) who recorded 130 thermal springs concentrated
in the corridor of the Cameroon Volcanic Line.
This study primary aims at reviewing the issue of geothermal exploration in Cameroon with
an emphasis on the existing barriers for its development and the level of awareness of
academics about geothermal energy as a barrier to the development of geothermal energy.
A review of the literature regarding the energy sector in Cameroon was firstly conducted.
Furthermore, a survey on 175 Postgraduate students in Geology of the University of Yaounde
I was carried out in June 2018 using a self-developed questionnaire. The literature was
analysed using thematic analysis and the questionnaire was analysed using the STATA
software.
The literature revealed that poor policies, insufficient financial resources, untrained
personnel, constrained environments, and unawareness of stakeholders, investors and
academics are the main obstacles for geothermal exploration in Cameron. The insufficient
and inadequate knowledge of academics about geothermal energy has been highlighted by the
results of the survey.
Geothermal energy is still underexplored and underexploited in Cameroon. It is therefore
recommended that an initial exploration in Cameroon has to be done through a surface
exploration by combining geological, geochemical and geophysical methods. Through these,
Keutchafo et al.
it is expected that information on the location, area, extent, volume, geometry, boundary
conditions of resource, permeability, density, heat capacity and conductivity of the potential
geothermal resources should be obtained. Finally, awareness on geothermal exploration
should be increased.
1. Introduction
Cameroon is a Central African country, located in the Gulf of Guinea between latitude 2o and
13o degrees north and longitude 9o and 16o degrees east. The country covers an area of
475,650 km2. It has a triangular shape, which stretches south to Lake Chad nearly 1200 km,
while the base is spread from west to east about 800 km. It has a south-west maritime border
of 420 km along the Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded to the west by Nigeria, to the south by
Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, on the east by the Central African Republic, and north-
east by Chad (Annexure 1). Cameroon has a population of 24,994,885 inhabitants (CDP,
2018). Acording to the Central Intelligence Agency 2016, about 54.4% of the population
lives in urban area and 45.6% lives in rural area. It is the most populated country in Central
Africa with a population that is in constant growth. The population growth rate and economic
(GDP) growth rate are 2.59% (2015) and 5.9% (2015), respectively. Over 60% of
Cameroon's active population is employed in agriculture, representing 42% of GDP while
mining and industry accounts for 22% (Muh et al., 2018).
Cameroon is endowed with a great potential of energy resources: oil, natural gas, bauxite
(iron ores), forestry, hydropower, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. However, these
resources have not been adequately harnessed especially renewables (Ayompe and Duffy,
2014). Access to energy is among the key elements for the economic and social
developments of a country. The level and intensity of commercial energy used in a country is
one of the key indicators of socio-economic development. As incomes increase and
urbanization intensifies, household demand for energy will also rise. Unfortunately, the
energy sector in Cameroon has failed to align supply with demand for electricity in the
country. Although Cameroon is endowed with a variety of energy resources, many of these
resources have not yet been exploited. Currently about 73% of the electricity generation is
from hydro and the remaining 26 % and 1% are from combustible fossil (oil and natural gas)
and biomass respectively. Hence, there is a need to find new solutions to improve access to
energy and to ensure that such access is sustainable.
In Cameroon, the presence of an active volcanic line emphasized by thermal springs and the
frequent eruptions of Mount Cameroon (that last erupted in 1999 and 2000) can favour the
development of a geothermal industry that can provide clean and renewable energy.
However, Le Maréchal (1976), identified 130 thermal springs concentrated in the corridor of
the Cameroon Volcanic Line (with temperature that reaches 74°C in Woulndé), but no
feasibility studies have been carried out to identify their full potential.
This study addresses the issue of geothermal exploration in Cameroon with special attention
on the existing barriers for the development of geothermal energy. Specifically, what is
known about the energy sector and renewable energy and the level of awareness concerning
geothermal energy in Cameroon have been identified.
Keutchafo et al.
2. Energy sector in Cameroon
2.1 Energy demand and consumption
The main sources of commercial energy in Cameroon are: hydropower, coal and petroleum,
with 90% of the population using biomass (wood) for cooking, heating and lighting in remote
areas (FUSS, 2013). Electricity access is estimated to between 6588% urban and around
14% for rural populations (report from MINEPDEP, undated).
Figure 1: Energy and electricity production and consumption in Cameroon (IEA. Cameroon: Energy
balances for 2015. International Energy Agency, 2018).
Keutchafo et al.
In 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2018, Energy balance of
Cameroon), energy production was estimated at 10670 ktoe of which 47.0% came from
biofuels and waste and 46.1% from oil (Fig. 1a). Energy consumption in 2015 was 6849 ktoe,
with the residential sector on the lead with 67.9%, followed by the transport sector with
16.8% (Fig. 1b). With respect to sources of origin, 70.3% of energy consumption in 2015
came from biomass (Fig. 1c). Hydropower dominates electricity generation in Cameroon
with 69%, followed by self-production 22%, with an installed capacity of 1558 MW in 2009.
In 2015, total electricity generation (International Energy Agency, 2018, Electricity and heat
for 2015) was 6758 GWh with 75.0% from hydro, 17.9% from oil, 12.8% from gas and 1.1%
from biofuels (Fig. 1d); and in sectorial consumption (total 5784 GWh), industry is the
highest electricity consumer with 55.3% (Fig. 1e). Apart from hydropower as the main
installed capacity, 298 MW currently result from thermal power plants. The country potential
to produce electricity from biomass residues is estimated at 1076 GWh (International Energy
Agency (IEA, 2018, Electricity and heat for 2015).
2.2 Institutions and political energy actors
According to the Ministry of Environment Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development
(MINEPED), there are many state agencies actively involved in the management of the
energy sector in Cameroon:
- The Ministry of Energy and Water (MINEE), with a department of renewable energies, is
in charge of design and implementation of the national energy policy as well as providing
administrative and technical oversight of the establishments in the energy sector;
- The Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development is
responsible for the promotion of sustainable development in the renewable energy sector;
- The Rural Electrification Agency (AER) is responsible for promoting and implementing
rural electrification programs in Cameroon. It also manages the Rural Energy Fund
(FER);
- The Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (ARSEL) is responsible for regulating the
electricity sector as well as setting electricity rates and determining electrical standards;
- The Electricity Development Corporation (EDC) is in charge of construction and
development of the main hydroelectric projects in Cameroon. It also plays a strategic role
in the development of the electricity sector while ensuring conservation of the public
heritage in the sector;
- The National Society of Electricity Transport (SONATREL) is responsible of the
exploitation, maintenance of public electricity transmission throughout Cameroon;
- The Energy Of Cameroon (ENEO) is responsible for power generation, transmission and
distribution.
2.3 Renewable energy resources in Cameroon
2.3.1 Hydropower
Hydropower is the major source of power generation in Cameroon (Mas’ud et al., 2015).
Cameroon has the second largest hydropower potential in sub-Saharan Africa (294 TWh)
(Nématchoua et al., 2015), after the Congo, with an estimated total theoretical potential of 23
Keutchafo et al.
GW and a production potential of 103 TWh/year (FUSS, 2013). Hydroelectric theoretical
generation potential of Cameroon is estimated at 297 TWh with only 13,700 MW currently
implemented due to numerous environmental obstacles (UNIDO, 2016a). Water variations
induce regular and frequent power shortages throughout the country. The solution for that
problem is the Lom Pangar retention damp recently constructed by EDC. The electricity
production capacity of Cameroon as of 2015 was 817 MW with 88% from hydroelectricity
and the rest from thermal sources (Mas’ud et al., 2015). The major hydropower stations in the
country are: Edéa (263 MW), Song Loulou (388 MW) and Lagdo (72 MW); with Edéa and
Song Loulou located along the 920 km Sanaga river producing 97% of hydropower supply
(UNIDO, 2016a) and Lagdo in the north near Garoua. Cameroon also has a huge potential for
small hydro power supply (estimated at 1.115 TWh), mainly in the western and eastern
regions (Nématchoua et al., 2015). However, these small hydro potentials are poorly utilized,
exceptions done for Mekin and Menve’ele power stations currently under construction in
south Cameroon.
2.3.2 Solar energy
Cameroon has good potential for solar energy exploitation. In the most suitable parts, the
average solar irradiance is estimated at 5.8 kWh/day/ m2 (in the Northern parts of the
country), while the rest of the country commonly sees 4.9 kWh/day/ m2 (UNIDO, 2016b).
This potential, however, is weakly valorised despite the availability of ideal conditions
throughout the country. Solar power is currently used in distributed generation systems,
particularly for powering the cellular telecommunications network. However, only
approximately 50 PV (Photovoltaic) installations currently exist (Wirba et al. 2015). Other
recent applications include: solar street lighting; solar security and surveillance cameras for
both streets and public offices; solar phone charging for small businesses and remote
applications; solar home systems for both remote and some city applications; solar powered
deep freezers and air conditioning systems (Muh et al., 2018).
2.3.3 Wind energy
Most of the country has insufficient wind speed for power production with an average of 2-4
m/s at the height of 100 meter. However, the Northern and Littoral regions of Cameroon have
substantial potential for wind energy with wind speeds averaging 5-7 m/s (Tchinda and
Kaptouom, 2003). The wind energy potential of Cameroon is not as vast as solar and very
low consideration has been devoted to it so far. The potential of wind energy for small scale
applications (water pumping systems, water farms for livestock and small irrigation schemes)
for rural households in the far north region of Cameroon has been assessed by Kaoga et al.
(2016).
2.3.4 Biomass energy
Cameroon has the third largest biomass potential in sub-Saharan Africa, with 25 million
hectares of forest covering three-quarters of its territory (Mas’ud et al. 2015). However, the
unsustainable use of this resource has led to significant deforestation throughout the country,
with an annual clearance rate of 200,000 ha/yr. and regeneration of only 3,000 ha/yr. Primary
uses for biomass in the country include heating and light for the majority of the rural
population (Tansi et al., 2011).
2.3.5 Geothermal energy
Keutchafo et al.
Potential for geothermal energy exists in Cameroon. However, the exact capacity is unknown
since no investigation has been yet carried out to estimate this potential despite some recent
academic/research works of Domra et al. (2015, 2017). Nevertheless, hot springs are found in
extensive areas: Ngaoundéré area, Mt Cameroon area and Manengouba area with Lake
Moundou (EUEI-PDF, 2013).
2.4 Renewable Energy Policy/ Existing Policies and legal framework
Cameroon has set the goal of being an emerging country within the next 30 years, and
announced ‘Cameroon Vision 2035’, which proposes a strategy to accomplish this goal.
‘VISION 2035’ can be considered as a reference framework that guides policy, national
strategy, and development plans and cooperation for entire sectors and regions in Cameroon
(Domra et al., 2017). The energy sector is one of the important sectors that will assist the
country to achieve ‘VISION 2035’
In Cameroun, a renewable energy policy is being prepared, with policy goals to increase the
share of renewables in power and heat generation, and to involve private capital in the
delivery of energy (FUSS, 2013). In order to attract private investors into the energy and
renewable energy sectors in Cameroon, special mechanisms have been introduced: equipment
manufacturers benefit from import tax reduction and special fiscal measures, and the Rural
Energy Fund subsidises investments (70%) and studies (80%) in rural energy projects (Muh
et al. 2018).
The government’s policy seeks to get the country out of under-development, through the
implementation of the long-term Energy Sector Development Plan (PDSE 2035) and the
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Development of the energy sector is seen as a
factor for attracting investment and strengthening growth.
Moreover, Cameroon’s development objectives under the Vision 2035 envisage significant
investments in the energy sector, with the inclusion of renewable. The policy goals of the
government are to ensure energy independence through increased production and delivery of
electricity, of oil and gas (petroleum resources) and to ensure their contribution to economic
development.
However, prior to that, there are some existing policies that highlight renewable energy in
Cameroon. The renewable energy sector has been in consideration since 1996 as according to
article 24 of law N° 96/12 of 5th August 1996, relating to Environmental management.
According to this article, the competent ministry in collaboration with the ministry in charge
of environment and the private sector are in charge of producing renewable energy so as to
protect the atmosphere. The level of intervention of each party is not clearly stated in this
legal document.
The Law N° 2011/022 of 14th December 2011 governing the electricity sector in Cameroon
attempts to organises the renewable energy sector in Cameroon (EUEI-PDF, 2013) creates
Department of Renewable energy. Article 59 (2) imposes the use of renewable energy in the
implementation of the decentralized rural electrification program so as to encourage
environmental protection. This law also imposes the obligations for the energy operator to
buy all renewable energies produced but the price is not fixed in this document.
3. Status of Geothermal energy in Cameroon
3.1 Geological setting: The Cameroon Volcanic Line (CVL)
Keutchafo et al.
The Cameroon volcanic Line is a linear magmatic megastructure of 100 km wide oriented
N30°E, that extends more than 1500 km from Pagalu Island in the Gulf of Guinea to Lake
Chad (Fitton, 1987; Deruelle et al, 1983, 2007). In the ocean sector it consists of four
volcanic islands (Pagalu, Sao Tome, Principe and Bioko) and two seamounts, all located in
the Gulf of Guinea (Fig. 2).
The continental area consists of series of volcanoes in Cameroonian territory. Monogenic
volcanoes are Noun Plain (Wandji, 1995), Tombel and Tikar. Polygenic or stratovolcanoes
are Mt Cameroon (Deruelle et al., 1983), Mt Manengouba, Mts Bamboutos (Marzoli et al,
2000), Mt Bamenda and Mt Oku. In the continental area of CVL, more than sixty an-orogenic
complexes have been studied, including Mount Kupe, Nkogam, the massif Mayo Darle,
Nlonako and Nda Ali. Initial activity concerning these an-orogenic complexes is dated at 82
Ma (Jurassic to Cretaceous) for plutonism and 51 Ma for basaltic volcanism.
Figure 2: Cameroon Volcanic Line (simplified from Marzoli et al., 2000)
3.2 Geothermal hot springs
Keutchafo et al.
In Cameroon, a spring is characterized as thermal when its temperature is above the mean
temperature of 23°C (Le Maréchal, 1976). One hundred and thirty thermal springs were
recorded by Le Maréchal (1976). They are concentrated in the corridor of the CVL (Fig. 3)
Figure 3: Presentation of some major thermal springs of the Cameroon Volcanic Line (Tetchou and
Tchouankoue, 2014).
However, the current data available includes a detailed investigation of only 40% of the
Cameroonian territory. The hottest spring (Woulndé, 74°C) is located in the Centre region of
Cameroon, at the intersection between the CVL and the Adamawa shear zone, a
transcontinental lineament that extends from Cameroon to the Red Sea. Just behind the
Woulndé spring is the Lobe spring with a temperature of 49°C, located at the foot of Mount
Cameroon. The location of these hot springs is distributed along the CVL. The largest
number of springs is located in the region of Adamawa (see Annexure 2).
4. Methodology
This work is based on the analysis of literature that addresses the energy sector in Cameroon
and geothermal energy in Cameroon. The data have been sourced from international
organisations websites, government documents, peer-reviewed documents and other relevant
reports relating to the study at stake.
In addition, in other to assess the level of awareness of academics on geothermal energy, a
survey was conducted at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon in June 2018. The setting
was selected because it hosts a variety of students coming from other state universities to
obtain their master degree there. The inclusion criteria included being a registered student in
first or second year of master in Geology and being voluntary to participate to the study. A
self-developed questionnaire (Annexure 3) was pretested and used to assess their level of
awareness. Students were recruited in classroom after lectures and their consent was sought
prior to the distribution of the questionnaires. A total of 200 questionnaires was distributed
and 175 questionnaires were returned. The data was entered under the CS PRO software. A
descriptive analysis of the results was conducted using the STATA software.
Keutchafo et al.
5. Data presentation, analysis and interpretation
From the study conducted on 175 Postgraduate students in Geology of the University of
Yaoundé I to assess the level of knowledge of academics on geothermal energy in Cameroon,
the results show that the majority of the students had already heard about geothermal energy
at different levels (41% a little bit, 34% moderately, 13% enough and 4% deeply). Only 8%
had never heard about geothermal energy (Fig. 4a). They mainly heard about it at the
University, from mass media (Television and radio) and from internet respectively. Other
ways they heard about geothermal energy were through friends and in high school (Fig. 4b).
It is suggested that they might have heard about it in their lecture classes.
The results of this study show that hydroelectricity was mentioned as the main source of
energy in Cameroon (93%), followed by solar energy (86%), hydrocarbons (61%), biomass
(31%), and wind energy (22%). Only few (6%) mentioned nuclear energy in Cameroon
whereas there is not (Fig. 4c). For the majority, the production of energy in Cameroon in
relation to the demand is insufficient (55%) and unsatisfactory (36%). Only few of them
judged it satisfactory (3%) or very satisfactory (3%). And another 3% had no idea about it
(Fig. 4d).
In their opinion, among the obstacles to energy self-sufficiency in Cameroon, stand in good
position the lack of appropriate technology, followed by financial resources, lack of
qualified human resources, and lack of partnerships respectively (Fig. 4e). The other
obstacles they mentioned are mainly poor energy policy, followed by poor policy and the
non-use of all the available resources or of all the energy potential.
More than the half of the students (55%) thought that geothermal energy is a renewable
source of energy, while 22% estimated that it is a non-renewable source of energy, and 23%
did not know what kind of energy it is (Fig. 4f). This shows that despite the fact that the
majority had already heard about geothermal energy mainly at the University, almost half of
them did not have appropriate knowledge or understanding about it. Most of the students
(72%) agreed that geothermal energy can be produced in Cameroon, while only 13% thought
that it cannot be developed in Cameroon. However, a few of them (15%) did not know
whether it can be developed in Cameroon or not (Fig. 4g). This result suggests that academics
should be actors in any development of geothermal energy in Cameroon. And for conducting
geothermal exploration in Cameroon, the participants of the study thought that geologists
should be the main actors, followed by physicists, environmentalists, engineers and
hydrologists respectively (Fig. 4h).
From the student’s perspective, the main stakeholders for the development of the energy
sector in Cameroon are the Government, followed by academics, private enterprises, foreign
Investors and industries (Fig. 4i). The majority (76%) agreed with the fact that by
developing a new source of energy in Cameroon, it will benefit the population by enabling
them to have access to energy at low prices. The students furthermore stated that the
development of the energy sector in Cameroon will bring variety and sufficiency related to
energy. On the other hand, only a few of them (15%) thought that developing a new source
of energy will not reduce the price of energy because exploitation can be more expensive.
For the rest (9%), they don’t have any idea of the impact this will have (Fig. 4j). These show
that they are aware of the fact that academics have to play a major role in the development
of any new source of energy and that there is a need of developing other sources of energy
in Cameroon.
Keutchafo et al.
Figure 4: Results of the survey among 175 Postgraduate students of the University of Yaounde I in June
2018.
1.71%
25.14%
38.29%
58.86%
Other
Internet
Mass média
University
Q2: How did you heard about it?
b)
c)
55.17%
36.21%
3.45%
2.87% 2.30%
Q4: How do you rate the level of energy
production in Cameroon in relation to
the demand?
Insufficient
Unsatisfactory
Satisfactory
Very satisfactory
I don't know
d)
e)
1.14%
25.14%
26.86%
42.86%
62.86%
89.71%
I don't know
Hydrologists
Engineeering…
Environnementalists
Physicists
Geologists
Q8: To explore geothermal energy in
Cameroon, who can be the main actors?
h)
g)
55%
22%
23%
Q6: Do you think geothermal energy is a
source of energy that is:
Renewable
Non-renewable
I don't know
f)
i)
76%
15%
9%
Q10: Do you think that by developping a
new source of energy in Cameroon the
population will have energy at the low
prices?
Yes
No
I don't know
j)
a)
Keutchafo et al.
6. Discussion: Barriers to geothermal exploration
According to the literature review and the investigation, barriers to the exploration of
geothermal energy are:
- Poor energetic policy: Cameroon unlike many other African countries such as Nigeria
has no clear energy policy and hence no clear guidelines regarding renewables. However,
most of the laws enacted in the Cameroonian parliament have aspects of renewables but
mostly hydropower is usually addressed (Mas’ud et al., 2015). The regulatory framework
of renewable energy is almost void despite some measures previewed by the 2011 law on
electricity; the absence of application texts does not permit the active operation of
renewable energy in Cameroon. Futhermore, the 2035 Energy Sector Development Plan
gives future projections on renewable energies but do not consider other sources like
geothermal, solar, wind and biogas (Muh et al., 2018);
- Incentives: There is an absence of fiscal incentives and subsidies for renewables,
although the government of Cameroon has established a strategy to modernize the
electricity sector with several measures to facilitate the deployment of renewables
(Ngikam et al., 2009). The present prevailing framework in Cameroon does not
encourage the widespread use of clean energy technologies given the high taxes and
custom duties in the country (Muh et al., 2018). Also, renewable energy promoters are
not exempted from taxes and this may have a political impact on both private and public
sectors. There is lack of legislative texts that encourages the local manufacturing of
renewable energy equipment;
- Institutional environment: there is a lack of strong, dedicated institutions, lack of clear
responsibilities, complicated, slow or nontransparent permitting procedures. Inadequate
investment regulations, standards and quality control mechanisms do not encourage
investments. The legal framework of Cameroon is not clearly defined and also there are
no existing texts on renewable energy sector in Cameroon. Meanwhile the Law No
2011/022 of 14 December 2011 governing the electricity sector of Cameroon gives a
little attribution of renewable energy but with a lot of insufficiency;
- Technoeconomic barriers: there is inadequate technological capacity and Cameroon
being a developing country has a very low capital income thereby making it very
difficult to afford for adequate technology to develop the renewable energy sector;
- Financial barriers: there have been inadequate funding opportunities in the sector of
renewable energy in Cameroon;
- Infrastructure barriers: Absence of infrastructures such as an executing body to manage
renewable energy government in order to integrate or absorb renewable energy;
- Inadequate knowledge about geothermal energy and unskilled personnel: Cameroon
equally faces inadequate sensitization on the environmental benefits of renewable energy
as well as the inadequate number of trained renewable energy experts in the country. In
fact academics are among the main actors for the development of such a new domain and
unfortunately their knowledge about geothermal seems insufficient;
- Low priority given to renewables development of geothermal energy: The Cameroonian
government is the main actor for the development of the energy sector, but not much is
done with regard to geothermal energy.
Keutchafo et al.
7. Conclusion and recommendations
Geothermal exploration in the aim of the identification and the characterisation of potential
geothermal faces many challenges and obstacles in Cameroon despite the presence of a
volcanic activity and geothermal manifestations. Among the main obstacles identified, there
are inadequate policy, regulatory and institutional framework, funding constraints,
technology constraints, inadequate skilled manpower and training institutions and
unawareness of academics, government and investors.
Despite these obstacles, geological, geophysical and geochemical researches have to be
nevertheless carried out; the main parameters for geothermal resource exploration being the
identification of the heat source, reservoir rock, impervious cap rock and recharge of the
system. In order to achieve a good geothermal exploration in Cameroon, the following
geothermal activities have to be carried out: Geological survey, which consists mainly in
geological mapping of potential geothermal areas to investigate the tectonic, volcanic and
geology of the area. The aim of the structural geological mapping will be to expound on the
structural setting of fields, to identify parameters that support the existence of a geothermal
system namely; heat source, permeability and recharge mechanism; Geochemical surveys to
predict subsurface temperatures, to obtain information on the origin of the geothermal fluid
and to understand subsurface flow directions (Arnorsson, 2000). The results obtained after
measurements of surface temperature, water and gas flow as well as water and gas analyses
of the hot springs could also be used to assess the geothermal potential; And regional and
semi-detailed geophysical studies carried out in geothermal prospect area with the aim of
investigating the deep structures and to delineate possible geothermal reservoir and heat
source. Many methods such as electrical, magneto telluric and gravimetric studies, using MT
and TEM, DC resistivity methods, gravity and magnetics have to be conducted to study the
subsurface structure.
Geothermal power is a reliable, low-cost, environmental friendly, alternative energy supply
and an indigenous, renewable energy source, suitable for electricity generation.
Economically, Cameroon depends a lot on agriculture, fishing and breeding, so the direct
applications of geothermal resource could boost these sectors. Development of alternative
energies from renewable sources such as geothermal will be a key part of Cameroonian’s
energy diversity.
We recommend therefore for the coming years:
- Detailed structural geology field mapping accompanied by geochemical and geophysics
survey along the Cameroon Volcanic Line. If geophysical, geochemical and detailed
structural mapping results prove positive the potential areas should be investigated
further such as for the delineation of the reservoir to know its size and its volume;
- Introduction and application of new policies that will create a highly attractive climate
for foreign investment, trade liberalization, financial sector reform, privatization, and
special tax incentives;
- Creation of a national agency that handles the promotion of renewable energy;
- The Cameroon curricula should include studies in renewable energy at all levels;
- Massive sensitization in the area of renewable energy in Cameroon ;
- Training Cameroonian experts in acquiring, analysing and interpreting exploration data ;
Keutchafo et al.
- A fruitful collaborations with institutions specialized in geothermal energy around the
world;
- Dissemination of information about possibilities of geothermal energy use in Cameroon
among decision makers and search for funds.
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Keutchafo et al.
Annexure 1: Geographic map of Cameroon
Keutchafo et al.
Annexure 2: Distribution of thermal springs in Cameroon (Le Maréchal, 1976)
Region
District
Name
Coordinnates
Long/Lat.
Temperatures
(°c)
Adamawa
Ngaoundéré
Bajanga
14°00’35’’
7°17’10’’
23.8
Meiganga
Baja
18°06’10’’
7°08’55’’
40.0
Meiganga
Barkeje
14°45’40’’
7°00’50’’
23.0
Tignère
Bemlari
12°13’30’’
7°44’25’’
25.0
Tignère
Burlel 1
12°18’55’’
7°37’15’’
27.0
Tibati
Damfili
13°00’00’’
6°96’00’’
25.6
Tignère
Deodeo
12°02’10’’
7°28’25’’
28.5
Tignère
Donkere
12°13’35’’
7°46’25’’
26.4
Meiganga
Dzir Koya
14°40’25’’
6°56’00’’
28.0
Tignère
Falkoumre
12°35’30’’
7°19’35’’
23.0
Meiganga
Gbengubu
14°26’30’’
6°46’30’’
23.0
Ngaoundéré
Gogarma
14°15’30’’
7°18’25’’
25.6
Tignère
Guisire
12°24’25’’
7°25’10’’
25.4
Ngaoundéré
Katil Foulbe
13°56’00’’
7°06’00’’
40.0
Meiganga
Koulama
14°25’11’’
6°45’50’’
26.0
Ngaoundéré
Laobalewa 1
13°42’25’’
7°11’00’’
23.4
Ngaoundéré
Laofuru
13°35’25’’
7°12’10’’
24.4
Ngaoundéré
Laopanga
13°41’00’’
7°11’10’’
40.0
Tignère
Lasum
12°17’35’’
7°44’10’’
28.8
Meiganga
Mala0
14°02’20’’
6°46’40’’
25.4
Ngaoundéré
Matari
13°28’10’’
7°16’30’’
23.0
Tignère
Mayo Baleo
12°16’00’’
7°41’25’’
25.2
Tignère
Mayo Lidi
12°06’55’’
7°23’05’’
37.0
Tignhe
Nalti
12°28’00’’
7°49’30’’
24.5
Banyo
Nialan
11°35’25’’
6°31’00’’
23.4
Tignhe
Patarlay
12°19’40’’
7°37’35’’
25.0
Meiganga
Sep Sep Djarandi
14°58’40’’
7°05’00’’
30.0
Keutchafo et al.
Meiganga
Sep Sep Maloko
13°27’50’’
6°21’20’’
23.0
Banyo
Voure Mba
11’54’50”
6’59’30”
23.8
Banyo
Voure Yelel
11°55’45’’
6°58’55’’
23.6
Tignère
Woulnde
12°28’30’’
7°26’10’’
74.0
Meiganga
Yaisunu
14°48’20’’
7°01’35’’
23.0
Tignère
Burlel 2
12°01’25’’
7°29’25’’
25.4
Tignère
Malam Jubairu
12°03’50’’
7°28’15’’
23.3
Tignère
Mamdugu
12°04’20’’
7°29’25’’
26.0
Tignère
Mberduga
12°09’20’’
7°30’00’’
33.0
West
Manjo
Abang
9°45’50’’
4°56’40’’
25.2
Bangen,
Ahio-Ekanjo
9°41’30’’
4°56’30’’
28.0
Mamfé
Ayukaba
9°08’50’’
5°41’55’’
28.6
Bamenda
Bambui 2
10°15’25’’
6°14’50’’
26.0
Mélong
Bare 1
9°58’00’’
5°00’35’’
25.8
Mélong
Bare 2
9°57’20’’
5°00’30’’
26.5
Mélong
Ebuku
9°58’10’’
5°02’50’’
26.4
Bamenda
Fongakie
10°15’45’’
6°03’25’’
23.4
Foumbot
Fossette
10°38’40’’
5°29’25’’
29.0
Wum
Foundong Meteuf
10°14’20’’
6°19’25’’
25.0
Foumban
Kuchuantium
10°38’55’’
10°50’10’’
23.8
Foumban
Koutaba
5°36’45’’
5°42’10’’
24.4
Ekundu Titi
Lobe
9°05’25’’
10°15’00’’
49.0
Nkongsamba
Manengouba
9°53’10’’
9°55’20’’
25.2
Mélong
Mbuedum
4°51’20’’
5°08’30’’
24.6
Melong
Melong
9°59’05’’
10°18’20’’
26.6
Wum
Ndi
5°9’45’’
6°26’30’’
25.2
Bangen
Ndibisi
9°45’00’’
9°46’10’’
28.5
Manjo
Ngol
5°06’00’’
4°51’45’’
31.0
Njinikom
Nilli
10°16’30’’
9°49’55’’
33.3
Keutchafo et al.
Manjo
Nsoung
6°02’00’’
5°00’00’’
35.0
Nwa
Ntem
11°00’00’’
10°17’55’’
27.0
Wum
Nyos
6°20’00’’
6°27’15’’
24.8
Mamfé
Ebinsi
9°09’15’’
5°41’20’’
28.0
Mamfé
Mbakan
9°08’55’’
9°01’25’’
25.0
Mamfé
Akan-Mbe”
5°40’40’’
5°42’55’’
27.6
Keutchafo et al.
Annexure 3: Questionnaire
Enquiry of Master's students in Geology, University of Yaounde I-Cameroon
1. Have you ever heard about geothermal energy?
Not at all A little Moderately Enough Deeply
2. How did you hear about it?
University Mass Media (Radio, Television) Internet
Other: ..................................................................................................................................................
3. To your knowledge what are the other sources of energy that are found in Cameroon?
Hydroelectric Solar Wind
Biomass Nuclear Hydrocarbons
Other: ...................................................................................................................................................
4. How do you rate the level of energy production in Cameroon in relation to the demand?
Insufficient Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Very satisfactory
I don’t know
5. In your opinion, what can be the obstacles to energy self-sufficiency in Cameroon?
Lack of financial resources Lack of qualified human resources
Lack of partnership Lack of appropriate technology
Other: ...................................................................................................................................................
Geothermal energy refers to energy from the heat contained within the earth that can be used for electricity
generation, mainly in volcanic regions and tectonic plate boundary areas.
6. Do you think geothermal energy is a source of energy?
Renewable Non-renewable I do not know
7. Do you think that geothermal energy can be developed in Cameroon?
YES NO I do not know
8. To explore geothermal energy in Cameroon, who can be the main actors?
Geologists Engineering Engineers Physicists
Environmentalists Hydrologists I do not know
9. In your opinion, who can be the main actors for the development of the energy sector in Cameroon?
State/Government Private Enterprises Foreign Investors
University Industries I do not know
10. Do you think that by developing a new source of energy in Cameroon the population will have energy at the
low prices?
YES NO I do not know
Justify your answer:……………………………………………………………………………………………..
Hello Madam, Sir, as part of a university research, we are conducting a study with geologists to know the
level of information of academics regarding geothermal energy in Cameroon. This questionnaire is short and
will only take a few minutes. Thanks for your help.
... In Cameroon, the presence of more than hundreds of thermal springs in the corridor of the active Cameroon Volcanic Line, as well as repeated eruptions of Mount Cameroon, are supportive of geothermal development in the country [35]. Geothermal energy has not been harnessed to date in Cameroon and there is no known energy supply derived from geothermal source. ...
... In the literature, there exists rather very few studies regarding the subject. Keutchafo et al. [35] reviewed issues of geothermal exploration with a focus on existing barriers hindering the geothermal energy development in Cameroon. By appraising geothermal resources and use in Cameroon, Kana et al. [36] identified several potential geothermal sites using thermal methods. ...
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Article
Fitton, J.G., 1983. Active versus passive continental rifting: evidence from the West African rift system. In: P. Morgan and B.H. Baker, Processes of Continental Rifting. Tectonophysics, 94: 473–481. The West African rift system comprises the Cretaceous Benue trough and the Tertiary to Recent volcanic Cameroon line. The two features are remarkably similar in shape and size and may be superimposed perfectly by rotating one with respect to the other by 7° about a pole in Sudan. Three stages in the geological history of the system are postulated. (1) The Benue trough was produced by lithosphere stretching as one arm of an RRR triple junction during the early stages of the opening of the South Atlantic. (2) At about 80 Ma (Santonian) a short-lived period of clockwise rotation interrupted the otherwise anticlockwise rotation of Africa and decoupled the lithosphere from the asthenosphere. The hot zone in the asthenosphere beneath the Benue trough thus became displaced relative to the lithosphere and moved to a new position beneath Cameroon and the Gulf of Guinea. (3) Anticlockwise rotation and asthenosphere-lithosphere coupling were restored allowing the hot zone to manifest itself as the Cameroon line. The Cameroon line is possibly a unique example of what a “rift system” produced actively by a thermal anomaly in the asthenosphere would look like. It is significant that, despite a long history of volcanism and uplift, the Cameroon line has not developed a graben structure. The implication is that rift systems with graben structures are produced passively by lithosphere stretching.