Ethiopia is planning to launch a USD 2.5 Bn 520 MW geothermal electric project which will be implemented in West Arsi Zone in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
The project is expected to double up the generation of electricity which will curb the country’s severe energy shortage which worsens even as increased electricity demand grows by 30 percent each year.
The country produces only 7.3 MW of geothermal energy despite boasting of the longest section of the 7,000km East African Rift Valley with a geothermal potential of 10,000 megawatts (MW).
According to Tesfaye Kessa, Director of Geothermal Resource Development License and Administration Directorate at Ethiopian Energy Authority, geo energy would serve better to benefit Ethiopians since hydropower has not been sufficient for the national power grid.
“When we compare with hydro energy though it is a renewable source of power, if there is a shortage of rain, it does not generate the required amount of energy,” he said.
The project has received the support of the US Trade and Development Agency which will cater to the high operational costs which have been a huge hindrance to the development of the huge geothermal source.
24 geothermal potential areas have been identified at different parts of the country.
As part of efforts to increase geothermal production, State utility firm Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP in February signed an agreement with two Chinese firms and one Kenyan firm for the 70 MW geothermal energy drilling project.
The firms, Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group, Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group and Kenya Electricity Generating Company are expected to supply drilling materials as well as drill wells for possible geothermal energy sources in central Ethiopia.
Tulu Moye Geothermal is currently performing various works in the project site like opening offices in the project site as well as constructing the road at the project site, company CEO Darrell Boyed said.
Featured Image Courtesy: Inhabitat