by Leslie Blodgett, via Renewable Energy World
When Jaime Merriman visited Kenya, she saw giraffes, but she was not on a wildlife tour. Merriman’s close encounter happened at Kenya’s geothermal facilities, where the striking animals were completely undisturbed as they grazed.
In fact, Merriman seems as in awe of the geothermal facilities as she is of the creatures. After all, she asked to be assigned to geothermal energy in her role promoting U.S. exports to emerging economies for the U.S. Trade Development Agency (USTDA).
The export market for geothermal goods and services has noticeably expanded in recent years, and a January 2012 survey of Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) members showed that over 65 percent were exporting technology or otherwise involved in geothermal development abroad.
Africa represents an important new opportunity for U.S. geothermal firms. While Africa has had its economic problems, it has seen strong economic growth over the past decade. Real GDP has been growing at roughly 5 percent annually, making the continent among the world’s fastest growing regions. This has been due at least in part to government efforts to diversify economies, spur employment, and encourage industrialization — all presenting a rising need for reliable electric ...