Ethiopia to Generate 300 MW Solar Energy

The Ethiopian Electric Power headed by Engineer Azeb Asnake signed on Oct.14 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a US-based company Green Technology Africa Inc. (GTA) to generate 300 megawatts of solar energy.

The partnership signifies the collaboration of the government and the private sector which aims at supporting Ethiopia’s green development strategies with the underlined expectations and demands of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), Dereje Mesfin, CEO GTA Inc, told The Reporter.

The CEO also told The Reporter that based on the signed MoU GTA had agreed to deliver 300 megawatts of solar generated photovoltaic system as a turnkey project in areas such as Dire Dawa, Kombolcha and Desse areas of the Amhara Regional State.

The proposal of the project was submitted to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy about a year ago and the generated 300 megawatts of solar power will be linked to the national grid.

The company has completed the pre-feasibility study to implement the project and the signing of the MoU will grant GTA the ability to start a full and complete feasibility study on specific region. The project is estimated to be worth USD 600 million and, according to the MoU, GTA is expected to set up shop in Ethiopia within the next six months.

In relation to the significance of the project, the CEO told The Reporter: “In addition to generating 300 MW of renewable energy that will fill in the gap of energy supply deficiency in Ethiopia, GTA will also help create jobs and offer global expertise that will increase the “know-how” in green energy for local experts.”

The CEO added that the project is owned by the Ethiopian government and the role of GTA is to undertake the overall activities of the project and in relation to the issue of the management of the project the Ethiopian Electric Power has not yet decided. “If they have the qualified professionals to manage and administer the project after its completion we will hand over the project, if not we will also engaged in the management,” the CEO said. However, he added that it is not yet decided and it will be decided in the future.

Regarding the source of finance, the CEO told The Reporter: “We are planning to find and facilitate the finance from various sources mainly from President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative and transfer it to the government of Ethiopia and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) will approve the finance once we find the finance from various sources.

The duration of the overall project will be determined after six months which is included in the MoU and, according to the CEO, the issues related to finance and other matters are expected to be finalized within the coming six months and if things go according to the plan the CEO told The Reporter that they will sign a contract after six months and that will determine the overall duration of the project.

GTA provides engineering consulting and management services for transmission, distribution, industrial and generation clients. It is also engaged in the process of evaluating the transmission grid deliverability, applying for interconnection, and coordinating design, engineering, procurement of renewable generation facilities.