Wind energy in Ethiopia: plans to produce 720 MW by 2013

Aetopic Energy Plc, the company cofounded by Ahmed Kello (PhD), former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, proposed to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) early in June to provide wind turbines parts for the Aysha Wind Power Project in Dire Dawa.

Aetopic Energy will first start by importing the parts until its planned factory becomes operational, according to the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, which Ahmed expects to sign by July.

Aysha Wind Farm is located in Shelele Wereda in the Dire Dawa City Administration and is expected to produce 300 MW of electricity with 200 wind turbines.

If the agreement is signed, Aetopic will import 40 wind turbines to produce 60 MW of electricity for the first phase of the 300 MW wind energy park until its factory starts production at the beginning of 2011. Each wind turbine is estimated to cost two million dollars, according to Ahmed.

However, there has not been much enthusiasm on the side of the EEPCo about the purchase of the wind turbines, according to Alemayehu Tegenu, minister of Mines and Energy (MoME), who said that the wind turbines could be produced locally at a much cheaper price.

“We are looking for companies that can produce the parts locally and supply them to us,” said Alemayehu.

Ethiopia has plans to produce 720 MW of electricity by the year 2013 from Aysha (300 MW), Ashegoda (120 MW), Adama I (50 MW), and Messebo Harena (50 MW) wind farms, according to the five-year plan by the MoME.

The construction of Ashegoda Wind Farm located 20 km southwest of Mekelle, Tigray Regional State, which is being supplied and installed by Vergnet Group, a French company, has already started. It is expected to be completed by 2013 with an installed capacity of 120 MW.

By Hailu Teklehaimanot,