Ethiopia is set to become the wind power capital of Africa

As countries rally around for cleaner, alternative sources of energy to meet their needs as well as their commitments as promised at COP 22 which took place in Paris, France in 2015, there has been an increasing shift to solar power.

However, some other countries are harvesting another natural resource to meet energy demands–Wind. Yes, Ethiopia, a nation in East Africa is making a big to become the largest producer of wind-generated energy.

In May 2015, the country commissioned the Adama II wind facility in Nazret; the farm consisted of 102 turbines, has an output of 153 megawatts and is currently Africa’s second largest wind farm. The largest single wind facility is the 301 megawatt Tarfaya farm situated in Morocco.

Well, Ethiopia’s plan to lead the African continent is one that seems to be following a track of improvement, before the Adama II project came online, in 2013, the Ashedoga plant with its 84 turbines and a capacity of 120 megawatts to power 100,000 homes was the largest wind farm in Africa. The country has two smaller wind farms near Adama, southeast of Addis Ababa, with a capacity of 51 megawatts each.

Currently, energy output in Ethiopia is over 4,000 megawatts, which is mainly sourced from hydroelectric power, however, that is set to change with the government’s plan to increase output to about 17,000 megawatts with wind power playing a major role.

Erratic power supply is still rampant; according to the World Bank, less than 30 percent of Ethiopia is connected to the electricity grid and the country needs the energy to drive economic growth that has averaged more than 10 percent in the past decade.

Wind power is also expected to offer benefits for surrounding communities by providing jobs and the opportunity to export energy. Already Ethiopia exports energy to neighbouring countries Kenya and Sudan.

The target is to become a leading force in the use of wind power capital is no easy feat. The government plans to build at least five more wind farms, and potentially more, aiming to deliver up to 5,200 megawatts sourced from wind power in the next four years.

Ethiopia is set to become the wind capital of Africa
Credit: CNN [sourced from Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation]

As ambitious as the plan sounds, the use of alternative, cleaner energy sources fall within the country’s plan to have a “climate resilient” economy by 2030, just as it made a commitment to cut its carbon emissions by 64 percent at the Paris conference.