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Ethiopia eyes export of geothermal energy to East Africa

Oct 25, 2013 -

October 25, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – As part of Ethiopia’s plans to become a major power exporter in East Africa, the state utility company said on Friday that it is building Africa’s largest Geothermal Power Plant.

Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation’s Spokesperson, Miskir Negash, told Sudan Tribune that Ethiopia has signed an agreement with US firm Reykjavik Geothermal to build a giant $4 billion geothermal farm project.

Mihret Debeb, CEO of EEPCO said the geothermal power plant, which will have power generating capacity of 1,000 Mega Watts will be used for domestic consumption and exported to neighboring countries.

According to the agreement, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation will purchase the energy generated by the project.

The official said the project will be a crucial input to Ethiopia’s economic growth and is also part of the country’s plan to be a carbon-neutral middle income economy by 2025.

“The geothermal development will help Ethiopia towards achieving sustainable energy supply it also is in line to the country’s green economy strategy” CEO of Reykjavik Geothermal Gudmundur Thoroddsson told Sudan Tribune.

Thoroddsson said the project will be built under two phases with the initial 500 MW phase expected to be completed by 2018.

The whole project will be completed and will fully go operational by 2021.

Ethiopia which currently is building a number of hydro-power plants with billions of dollars investment aims to boost its energy production from the current level of around 2,200 MW to 10,000 MW by the end of the country’s five year growth and transformation plan launched in 2010.

The east African country has huge resources of renewable energy.

According to EEPCO, Ethiopia has an estimated hydro-power potential of 45,000 MW, a geothermal potential of 10,000 MW and an estimated 1.3 million MW from wind.

Beyond hydro-power plant projects, the country is also investing in wind and other green projects.

One among these green projects is the Ashegoda Wind Farm project which was built by Vergnet SA, a French company which took the contract in October 2008.

The wind farm, built in the northern Tigray region has a capacity of generating 120 MW of electricity.

Christian Yoka, regional director for the French Development Agency on Friday told Sudan Tribune that the wind farm will be inaugurated on Saturday 26 October 2013.

According to Yoka, the wind farm is the largest wind power project in sub-Saharan Africa.

He further said that the French Development Agency will fund other green energy projects which are under way in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia plans to produce around 900 MW of wind energy by 2015.