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Official Name:
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Ms. Yamelakesira Tamene Bekele
Director, Technology Transfer and Technical Support
+251 921320915

Energy profile

Ethiopia (2014)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

It is clear that great progress has been made, and the Ethiopian government is paying far more attention to sustainable energy access than a decade ago. Still, enormous challenges remain. For perspective, Ethiopia has 86 million people, and as of 2011, only 23% of households had electricity (Central Statistical Agency 2012); in rural areas, where the vast majority of the population lives, just under 5% of households were connected to the grid.

Renewable energy potential

Ethiopia is a country on the brink of an energy revolution, but requires significant assistance to realize its potential, particularly in the areas of geothermal, wind and solar and biomass resources as long-term options for power generation for both local industrialization and as a potential source of FX earnings. In accordance with targets outlined in the GTP, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) has set concrete plans to achieve 75% energy access by 2015 and aspires to become a regional power exporter and green energy hub for East Africa.  In 2011, Ethiopia began 35 MW of power exports to Djibouti, estimated to generate USD 1.5 million per month, and is finalizing plans to begin exporting 100 MW of power to Sudan in early 2014.SolarEthiopia receives a solar irradiation of 5000 – 7000 Wh/m² according to region and season and thus has great potential for the use of solar energy. The average solar radiation is more or less uniform, around 5.2 kWh/m2/day. The values vary seasonally, from 4.55-5.55 kWh/m2/day and with location from 4.25 kWh/m2/day in the extreme western low lands to 6.25 kWh/m2/day in Adigrat area, Northern Ethiopia is still at its early stage.Wind EnergyEthiopia has good wind resources with velocities ranging from 7 to 9 m/s. Its wind energy potential is estimated to be 10,000 MW. The Ethiopian National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA) began work on wind data collection in 1971 using some 39 recording stations located in selected locations. Ever since the establishment of these stations, wind velocity is measured and data made available to consumers. However, the number of stations established, quality of data (in terms of comprehensiveness) and the distribution of the stations leaves much to be desired.  On the basis of data obtained from existing wind measurement stations two important conclusions can be drawn:First and foremost, Ethiopia’s wind energy potential is considerable.Secondly, wind energy is highly variable over the terrain mainly as a function of topography of the country. Pockets of areas with high wind velocities of up to 10 m/s are distributed throughout the Eastern half of the country, including the western escarpment of the Rift Valley.Africa's biggest wind farm began production in Ethiopia in October 2013, aiding efforts to diversify electricity generation from hydropower plants and help the country become a major regional exporter of energy. The 210-million euro Ashegoda Wind Farm was built by French firm Vergnet SA with concessional loans from BNP Paribas and the French Development Agency (AFD). The Ethiopian government covered 9% of the cost.Biomass & biogasEthiopia’s biomass energy resource potential is considerable. According to estimates by Woody Biomass Inventory and Strategic Planning Project (WBISPP), national woody biomass stock was 1,149 million tons with annual yield of 50 million tons in the year 2000. These figures exclude biomass fuels such as branches/leaves/twigs (BLT), dead wood and homestead tree yields. Owing to rapidly growing population, however, the nation’s limited biomass energy resource is believed to have been depleting at an increasingly faster rate. Regarding the regional distribution of biomass energy resources, the northern highlands and eastern lowlands have lower woody biomass cover. The spatial distribution of the "deficit" indicated that areas with severe woody biomass deficit are located in eastern Tigray, East and West Harerghe, East Shewa and East Wellega Zones of Oromiya and Jigjiga Zone of Somali Region. Most of Amhara Region has a moderate deficit but a small number of Woredas (districts) along the crest of the Eastern Escarpment have a severe deficit.There is however an energy production potential from agro-processing industries (processing sugar cane bagasse, cotton stalk, coffee hull and oil seed shells). Up to date, no grid-connected biomass power plants exist. Several sugar factories have however been using sugar cane bagasse for station supply since the 1950s. A total of 30 MW of capacity surplus could be fed in the grid by sugar factories. Municipal waste and bio fuels on the other hand are barely used as energy resources. No estimation of municipal waste power production potential is available at the time, power production potential of landfill gas is estimated to be 24 MW. The current GTP plans to disseminate 25,000 domestic biogas plants, 10,000 vegetable oil stoves and 9.4 million improved stoves by 2015.HydroEthiopia has an enormous potential for hydropower developments, while the total endowment of hydropower is estimated to be up to 45,000 MW per annum, only 3% of the country’s hydropower potential is currently being exploited.GeothermalIn Ethiopia, estimated geothermal resource potential for power generation is about 5,000 MWe. So far, exploratory drilling has taken place in Aluto-Langano (1982 to 1985) and Tendaho-Dubti (1993 to 1998) geothermal fields. Detailed surface exploration has been completed in four other geothermal prospect areas (Corbetti, Abaya, Dofan Fantale and Tulu Moye).A 7.3 MWe geothermal pilot power plant has been installed at Aluto. This pilot plant is currently generating about 4 MWe. Feasibility study for the expansion of the Aluto Langano Geothermal power has been recently completed with the Japanese Overseas Development Assistance. On the basis of this study, drilling of four deep appraisal wells is planned for 2012 with the technical assistance of government of Japan and loan from the World Bank. The government is now working on expansion of the Aluto-Langano geothermal field to 70 MWe. The WB, AfDB and JICA are involved in financing expansion of this geothermal field. Other geothermal prospect areas in the Ethiopian Rift Valley that are at reconnaissance stage of exploration are: Teo, Danab, Kone and others.In October 2013, Ethiopia signed a preliminary agreement with a U.S.-Icelandic firm for a $4 billion private sector investment intended to tap its vast geothermal power resources and produce 1,000 MW from steam.

Energy framework

The Government of Ethiopia has taken a number of policy measures in the last two decades related to energy, but there is limited evidence of specific policy or legislative action on renewable energy. Some frameworks have been constituted comprising of ancillary policies and legislation that will have measures contained therein with respect to renewable energy. Examples include, the 1994 National Energy Policy addresses the household energy problem by promoting agro-forestry, energy efficiency in biomass fuels and facilitating a move towards increased use of ‘modern’ fuels i.e. renewable sources. The Policy also seeks to encourage private participation in the energy sector development. Ethiopia’s national development plan -Growth Transformation Plan (GTP) 2011-2015), promotes Green Development Strategy with the aim of meeting the demand for energy in the country by providing sufficient and reliable power supply. The plan promotes an extensive hydropower expansion plan that includes the Blue Nile dam with electric generation capacity of 5,250 MW, sufficient for domestic use as well as for export. It also plans to expand the biofuel, wind and solar energy sector.A Climate Resilience and Green Economy (CRGE) strategy has also been set up which has the policy objective of expanding electricity generation from renewable sources of energy for domestic and regional markets. There is also the Electricity Feed-in-Tariff Law (2012) to encourage the diversification of the power mix in the national grid and thus making power supply more reliable and less prone to be affected by weather and market conditions. Additionally there is the Alternative Energy Development and Promotion programme to develop the country’s abundant renewable energy resources and technologies through adoption or innovation of new technologies.Ethiopia was chosen as one of the first six pilot countries after submission of an expression of interest by the Environmental Protection Authority in June 2010. It then developed its final proposal in February 2012 and presented it for sub-committee approval in March 2012 at the CIF partner countries forum in Washington D.C. Ethiopia’s Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) was designed under the leadership of the government in coordination with the African Development Bank (AfDB), members of the World Bank Group (IBRD, IFC), other development partners, and key Ethiopian stakeholders. The output of this sub-committee is an “endorsement in principle” of the Ethiopia SREP component and future approval of actual amounts after MDB agreement of intended projects and specific project activities. Ethiopia is tapping $50 million (96% grant, 4% loan) for one geothermal (Aluto Langano, 200 MW) and one wind project (Assela, 120 MW), as well as a clean energy SME facility.The current energy sector policy of the country aimed a five-fold increase in renewable energy production by the end of 2015, from a current 2,052 MW (52 MW added from wind in December 2012) to about10,000 MW and also targets to export power to neighbouring countries since power demand in Ethiopia is constrained by limited consumption due to underdevelopment. To meet the above target the Ethiopian government is aggressively constructing eight wind farms with total capacity of 1116 MW, one geothermal plant  with capacity of around 70 MW and a number of hydropower plant projects, including the 1,870 MW Gilgel Gibe III dam on the Omo River, the 2,000 MW Gilgel Gibe IV dam and the 6,000 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Damon the Blue Nile river. Currently, four wind farms are under construction and one wind farm with capacity of 52 MW power already completed in December 2012. According to EEPCo the longer-term plan is to hit a target of zero carbon emissions by 2025 with hopes that the private sector will play a pivotal role to help meet these goals (Asress, 2013).National Biogas Programme (NBP) of EthiopiaThis programme was established in 2007 and works with EREDPC to promote the uptake of domestic biogas in selected regions in Ethiopia. The programme operates on a cost-sharing basis with other investors and donors. Results to date include over 1,200 biogas plants constructed and the programme is operating in 37 woredas. The model from the national biogas programme has been studied for its application to the national investment programme on improved cook stoves.GiZ Energy Coordination Office (ECO)Working with the Ministry of Water and Energy the ECO has since 2010 been working to promote renewable energy in Ethiopia. A key achievement includes that photovoltaic solar systems have been installed in 100 off-grid and remote public health centres and four community centres. In addition, Ethiopia's first solar technology training centre has been set up at Selam Vocational Training Centre, in Addis Ababa, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Alternative Energy Promotion and Development Centre, four pilot micro-hydropower plants have been constructed in three villages of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region, with a total capacity of 125 kW, and to date more than 650 small-scale producers of improved, energy-efficient cooking stoves have become established in 310 districts and seven regions which has led to the sale of an additional 500,000 cook stoves. This project will work closely with the GiZ Energy Coordination Office.

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