Clean Power

Published on November 1st, 2013 | by James Ayre

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Ashegoda Wind Farm — Largest Wind Farm In Africa — Now Online

November 1st, 2013 by  

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.

Image Credit: EEPCo

Image Credit: EEPCo


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:

  1. Google Makes First Renewable Energy Investment In Africa
  2. South Africa Approves $5.4 Billion In New Renewable Energy Projects





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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • FactChecker

    The numbers don’t add up. According to Vergnet’s website, they installed 84 units of the GEV HP 1MW turbine which should = 84MW installed capacity. But press release states 120MW: Where is extra capacity coming from? Also, annual average wind speed on site is 8.5m/s which = 331GW (using turbine datasheet numbers). Again, this is under the 400GW stated in press releases and all articles. What gives??

  • JamesWimberley

    Getting the first few turbines up is huge step. They work! Many more will follow.

    The guyed design is unusual. French institutions financed the deal, so the manufacturer is a small French company called Vergnet.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I wonder if concrete is expensive there? That might make a guyed system a better choice.

      • JamesWimberley

        It’s Vergnet’s standard 2-blade design. Website: http://www.vergnet.com/en/technic-choices.php Claimed advantages: easier erection with one crane, following nacelle and rotor assembly on the ground; nacelle and rotor can be lowered to the ground for servicing and in anticipation of hurricanes. In a backward country like Ethiopia, the reduction in skilled labour is very valuable. They don’t go bigger than 1MW.

        • Kelvin

          In a backward country like Ethiopia?

          • silver2011

            the word is “developing country” now..some people still use pre 1970s wordings.

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