Ethiopia?s first wind energy project at starting line

Construction of Ethiopia’s first wind energy project began at Ashegoda, a site 30 kilometres from Mekelle, in the region of Tigray. Marc Vergnet owner and president of the Vergnet Groupe told that his company is doing its best to expedite the wind power project which is expected to be the biggest wind farm in Africa.

The wind power project, with a capacity of 120 MW, is managed by Ethiopia’s energy company Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), and was financed by the Agence Française de Développement with subsidized loans from BNP Paribas, totalling 210 million euros.

In the first stage of the project, which will be completed by next June, 30 wind turbines will be installed, each with a capacity of 1 MW. The wind farm is scheduled to be completed within the first months of 2013, with the total installation of 120 wind turbines. Annual production is expected to range between 400 and 450 million kWh, accounting for approximately 2.5% of the country’s electricity needs.

At present, only 32% of Ethiopia’s 75 million inhabitants has access to electricity (according to EEPCo, 25% according to international sources), moreover with scarce security. The government has charged the public company with the task of giving soon access to electricity to twice as many inhabitants.

Ethiopia is currently one or the countries with the lowest electricity consumption in the world: about 50 kWh per capita per year.