Ethiopia to launch its first wind energy plant

Ethiopia’s first ever wind farm project is being carried out with a French government support of around €210 million. Developed by the Vergnet Group, a French wind turbine manufacturer and wind farm developer, Ashegoda Wind Farm (20 KM south west of Mekelle in the Tigray regional state), is expected to help scale-up the country’s power demand.

With a running production capacity of 2,000 MW of hydro electric power, Ethiopia is struggling to meet the ever rising power demand from its 80 million inhabitants. According to statistics from the Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo), power demand is growing annually by around 24 per cent.

In a bid to meet its power demand as envisaged by the country’s five year Growth and Transformation plan, the government in April, 2011, launched the construction of a €3.3 billion ($4.6bn) hydro electric dam over the Nile River.

Meanwhile, government sources say the dam – to be fully funded by the Ethiopian government – is expected to generate a power capacity of 5,250 MW upon completion in 2016. And neighbouring countries are also expected to benefit from the mega project.

Ethiopia, which has signed deals to supply power to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya, is currently undertaking other multi billion hydro power projects as part of the country’s plan to reach a power generating capacity of around 10,000 MW in the next five years.