On Monday, the Ethiopian government and the US-Icelandic firm Reykjavik signed a construction agreement for the first phase of the Corbetti 1,000MW geothermal power plant in Ethiopia.
According to the Business Report, this deal followed the historic visit of US President Barack Obama, which through his Power Africa initiative, will increase both technical and investment expertise as well as drive investment in power generation.
The first phase of the $4 billion (ZAR50 billion) geothermal power project will have a 500MW generation capacity, which will be purchased by the Ethiopian government and supplied to the population.
The public-private partnership is claimed to be Africa’s largest geothermal power project on the continent.
The Ethiopian government and Reykjavik were expected to sign another agreement on Tuesday for the start of the second phase of the geothermal power project.
The project is estimated to take between eight to ten years to reach commercial operation.
Edward Njorge from Corbetti Geothermal Project said: “Ethiopia, like other African nations, suffers from a lack of energy and its lack stunts development. […] Its 7,000MW plus geothermal potential can help in bridging the energy gap.”
CEO of Ethiopia’s state-owned power utility firm (EEP) Azeb Asnake said that the country has implemented a 25-year plan in its green growth strategy, which includes active involvement from the private sector, the Business Report said.
Boosting energy generation capacity
Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) 2015 to 2020 plans to boost the country’s total generation from the current 4,200MW to 17,300MW by 2020.
Asnake stated that the long term goal was to reach a generation capacity of 37,000MW by 2037.
US Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, a previous chair of the Senate committee on energy commented: “I’m very excited to be part of the US-Ethiopia partnership and I hope the country moves in leaps and bounds, in gigabytes in telecom, gigawatts in electricity.”