Welcome to Tigrai Online, up to date news that matters!

Study shows Ethiopia has Enormous untapped wind and solar energy potential

Tigrai Online
Oct. 25 2011

Part of a wind terbine transported to Ashegoda in Tigrai State (photo credit Addis Forturne - Tigrai Online

The first phase of a project aimed at producing a comprehensive and updated energy sector data for the country, conducted at a cost of 4.3 million Br, was finalized and submitted to the Ministry of Water & Energy (MoWE) on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

Initiated by the Ministry, the fund for the project, titled the Energy Sector Mapping & Database Development (ESMAD), was financed by GiZ, a German international cooperation. The study was conducted by a company called Professional Consulting on Energy & Development, (PROCEED) as a lead consultant with eight private senior consultants.

The first phase, which took 16 months, developed a web based and Geographical Information System (GIS) enabled energy database. The project, which commenced in May of last year, was overseen by a national steering committee. It was comprised of MoWE, GIZ-Energy Coordination Office (ECO), Ethiopian Electric Agency (EEA), Ethiopian Electric Power Cooperation (EEPCo), Ministry of Agiculture (MoA) and Central Statistics Authority (CSA).

The study conducted by the local energy consulting firm will be the second study of the whole energy sector of the country, next to the one conducted by an Italian company in the 1980s.

The database enables the production of a variety of energy maps based on data collected on the supply side of electricity, biomass, renewable energy and hydrocarbons.

Since the potential areas for power generation are clearly indicated on the energy map, it will attract private investors to engage in the sector, according to Samson Tolessa, deputy director of Energy Coordination Office of GIZ.

“There is no organized data about the energy potential of the country,” he told Fortune. “The cost of identifying this potential by themselves is one of the reasons that might discourage investors.”

With hydropower being the dominant source of electricity in the country, there is not enough data about the potentials of local alternative sources for power generation such as wind and solar power.

Ethiopia has an economically exploitable hydropower potential of over 260Terra-Watt-Hour a year, making it second in Africa, next to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Out of the total electricity production, 98pc of the electricity production is from hydropower while only seven mega watts is produced from Geothermal power, despite an estimated potential of 5,000Mw.

Another renewable source of energy that has potential, according to the report, is wind.