Ethiopia to harness sun’s power


Ethiopia is set to expand its power production into solar electricity having concluded a deal with two US based companies late last week.
The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) awarded the project to Global Trade and Development Consulting and Energy Ventures, both Maryland-based companies.
AlemayehuTegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, told Capital that the project will commence before the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period in the coming fiscal year.
“The completion period may however take some time, because it will create its own large scale solar panel system for the energy sector,” the minister explained.
“The solar energy project, which is the first of its kind and big in terms of the amount of power generated from the sector in the country, will be implemented on the site that was identified in the master plan for its solar energy potential,” he said.
“It is early to specify the exact location that the project will take place but it will be in the area identified by the master plan produced by the government,” he added.
The minister confirmed that the companies will come with the necessary financing for the project, but did not state the exact amount.
According to Alemayehu, the project will have its own system that shall mix the solar energy with other electric power sources in the country.
He said that Ethiopia has been identified as one of the countries with huge solar energy potential.
The statement of the two companies indicated that they have been awarded the contract to build, operate, and transfer three one hundred megawatt (100MW) solar sites in the eastern part of Ethiopia.
“The site selection, due diligence and feasibility study were completed earlier this year, receiving both technical and financial approval from both the Ministry and EEPCo board,” the statement said.
“The companies that are based in Maryland have positive experiences with similar projects in Nigeria, so it is a good partnership for us,” Alemayehu explained.
Ethiopia is one of the selected African countries under President Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative that will facilitate guarantees for companies who invest in renewable energy projects in the continent. A few weeks ago the Icelandic based company Reykjavik Geothermal concluded a preliminary deal with the Ethiopian government to generate 1,000 MW of electric power from geothermal sources for a cost of four billion US dollars.