Electrifying Ethiopia With Renewable Energy

National Economy

The population of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is approximately 117.04 million people[1]. In 2018, 45.0% of the people in this country in the “Horn of Africa” had  access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Ethiopia’s economy was ranked 64th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of coffee, tea, spices, oily seeds, gold, cut flowers, zinc, and textiles.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Ethiopia signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to a 64% reduction in business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to a 3% reduction from greenhouse gas emission levels in 2010.

In 2018, Ethiopia announced a program to achieve universal access to electricity in the country. In the same year, the country launched a ten year program to dramatically increase the use of renewable energy.

In 2019, the state-owned Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU), used renewable energy (97.0%) and oil (3.0%) to generate electricity in the country[5].Hydropower, wind, and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Ethiopia.

Recent renewable energy projects in Ethiopia include:

  • 500 MW Solar Projects – In March 2021, Emirati renewable energy company Masdar Clean Energy announced plans to build utility scale solar projects which will be tied into Ethiopia’s power grid. Construction on the solar projects is scheduled to begin in 2022.
  • 254 MW Hydropower Project – In March 2020, US engineering firm Stantec Inc. completed construction of the Genale Dawa III hydropower dam, which is located in approximately 390 miles southeast of Addis, Ababa.
  • 150 MW Geothermal Project – Ethiopian geothermal company, Corbetti Geothermal is continuing work on a geothermal power project, which is located approximately 155 miles south of the capital, Addis, Ababa. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2022.
  • 100 MW Wind Farm In January 2021, Spanish-German wind energy company, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy began construction on the Assela wind farm, which is located approximately 95 miles south of Addis Ababa. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 70 MW Geothermal Project – In September 2020, the Chinese oil services company, Kerui Petroleum begun drilling operations on the Aluto-Langano Geothermal Project, which is located approximately 120 miles southeast of Addis Ababa.
  • 50 MW Geothermal Project – In October 2020, the S. International Development Finance Corporation committed $1.55 million for the development of the Tulu Moye Geothermal Power Plant, which is located approximately 60 miles southeast of Addis Ababa.

Conclusions

Ethiopia is rich in renewable energy resources, including hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. Ethiopia’s renewable energy potential could easily meet the country’s future power requirements.

The Government of Ethiopia has been wisely investing in renewable energy projects to achieve the country’s goal of universal access to electricity.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

[1] Ethiopia Population (2021) – March 28, 2021 www.worldometers.info

[2] The World Bank Group, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Ethiopia

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] USAID Power Africa Fact Sheet – Ethiopia, August 114, 2020

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