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Geothermal Expansion at Ethiopia Plant a Signal of More to Come

An expansion project at the Aluto-Langano geothermal power plant is set to begin this month.

And according to 2merkato.com and Ethiopian Business News, the equipment is already arriving. As of 2012, Aluto-Langano was the only operating geothermal power plant in the country with a capacity of 7.3 MW.

The proposed expansion will bring the plant’s capacity to 70 MW, Miskir Negash of Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation was quoted. The project is estimated to cost about US$35 million and is funded by $10 million from the Ethiopian government, a $13 million loan from World Bank, and a $12 million grant from the Japanese government.

Cluff Geothermal (UK) is looking at opportunities in Ethiopia. “In Ethiopia we have conducted a scoping environmental impact assessment on a site close to the town of Metehara,” Cluff managing director George Day was quoted by The Guardian. “The government of Ethiopia has strong commitments to developing geothermal as part of its energy mix. We must remain patient while the country’s regulatory framework is prepared for independent power producers such as ourselves. We are confident that this will be in the next 6 months.”

Other recent announcements show promise for the future in developing geothermal power and conducting geothermal business in Ethiopia and other East African countries:

  • The Development Bank of Ethiopia said last month that an initial $20 million, funded by World Bank, will be ready to kick start geothermal energy projects within the coming months. An additional $20 million is expected to be added to the fund at a later date.
  • The African Development Bank (AfDB) is working to define a geothermal development roadmap for Ethiopia.
  • In January, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the African Union Commission (AUC) joined in a Memorandum of Understanding on the Development of Geothermal Energy in East Africa.
  • A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows Africa holds six of the fastestgrowing economies worldwide and is also among the top growth rates demographically.

This article was originally published in the GEA's Geothermal Energy Weekly and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Ethiopia flag via Shutterstock

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Leslie is located in Washington DC at the Office of the Geothermal Energy Association and serves on the Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo committee.

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