The 120 MW Ashegoda wind farm in Ethiopia, now the largest wind farm in the whole of Africa, officially went online last weekend. As it stands, Ashegoda has actually already transferred around 90 million kWh of electricity to the grid. Now that its fully online it’s expected to produce around 400 million kWh a year.
The project, which was announced in 2008, was constructed over the last few years in a series of stages. When the first stage went online, it was the first of its kind in Ethiopia.
Ashegoda is located about 18 kilometers outside of the city of Mekelle in Ethiopia. The Adama I and Adama II wind farms were also recently completed, boasting 51 MW of capacity each. They are located just south of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The Ashegoda project was funded by the French bank BNP Paribas, the French Development Agency (ADF), and the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) — EEPCo will also manage the site.
Business Green provides some background on renewable energy development in Ethiopia:
Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging growth of between 8% and 10% for each of the last 10 years. Last year UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker led a clean tech trade delegation to the country as part of a wider mission to East Africa to help UK firms tap into what he called a ‘huge’ opportunity for green energy.
Ethiopia has an estimated 45 GW of hydroelectricity capacity potential, 10 GW of potential wind capacity, and 5 GW of geothermal potential. While the government’s current five year development plan envisages increasing the country’s current power generation capacity to 10 GW by 2015, to date it has only tapped around 2 GW of its green energy capacity.
With regard to the wider development environment in Africa, renewable energy development there has been largely centered around off-grid solar, but larger projects have been becoming somewhat more common in recent years. For example, see:
- Google Makes First Renewable Energy Investment In Africa
- South Africa Approves $5.4 Billion In New Renewable Energy Projects
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