Ethiopia eyes investing on 300 MW wind energy

Ethiopia is in negotiations to finalize a deal with a Chinese firm Dongfang Electric Corporation to construct a 120 MW wind farm in place called Ayisha near the Djibouti Border.


Miskir Negash, External Communications Director at Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), told that with the country embarking on a green economy strategy, wind power is one key component.

“while our main focus in on hydro electricity generation, we’re also seeing other options prominent among them being wind, and as such we’ve inaugurated so far 171 MW of wind energy” stated Negash adding that Ayisha project is estimated to have a current power generation capacity of 300MW.

Ethiopia has so far managed to commission two wind power projects built by French and Chinese firms respectively in the northern and central part of the country.

The first project to be commissioned the 51 MW Adama I wind power project, 95 kms south east of ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, constructed jointly by Hydro China and CGOC at a cost of $117 million and completed in 2012.

85 percent of the project’s funding was from the China Export Import Bank while the rest 15 percent was solicited from local sources.

The two companies have subsequently started construction on 153 MW Adama II wind power project, with according to Negash the project 82 percent complete and set to be finished this year.

The wind farm has a budget of USD 345 million and has reached 82 percent completion rate. 85 percent of the total cost is covered by the Chinese Exim Bank, while the Ethiopian government pays for the rest.

The second project to be commissioned the 120 MW Ashegoda wind farm located in Northern part of the country was inaugurated in October 2013.

The Project costing $ 289.7 million was built by French firm Vergnet SA with concessional loans from BNP Paribas and the French Development Agency (AFD). The Ethiopian government covered 9 percent of the cost.

Germans showing interest

Negash who refused to put an exact figure on the project said funding for the project is being looked in local and international financial sources, although the Ethiopian government estimates the total 300 MW project will need $ 536.6 million1.

He also stated that power generation ranging from 120-300 MW in total is under discussion with a German firm Laphto Technology Private Limited Company (PLC), potentially breaking the mold with projects that are increasingly being dominated by Chinese firms. The Ethiopian government has aims for the Aysha wind farm project to eventually be able to generate up to 1,000 MW of wind energy eventually.

“Ethiopia is embarking on a second phase of its five year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) starting from late 2015, and the Aysha project, will be part of the plan” Negash stated before surmising that there are other projects in the pipeline like the 100 MW Assela wind farm project.

The GTP a brainchild of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi launched in 2010 envisages Ethiopia achieving power generation capacity of 10,000 MW or more at utmost five years time from the current 2,200 MW.

The majority will come from Hydro energy, followed by wind power, Geothermal, with small contribution from waste energy and co-generation.

The Country also hopes for the renewable energy projects, to being a much needed hard currency by way of power exports to neighboring and regional countries.

Ethiopia so far has started limited power exports to Djibouti and Sudan of 60 and 100 MW each. It has also signed power export deal with Kenya to export electricity reaching 400 MW by 2016, as well as signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Sudan.

The country which has invested heavily in renewable projects as part of its green economy strategy hopes to partially achieve its 2025 goal of net zero carbon emission, with investments in clean, renewable energy like wind, hydro and geothermal.