Ethiopia Awards 300MW Solar Contract to US companies

Ethiopia Awards 300MW Solar Contract to US companies

Two US firmed have been awards contracts to build, operate and transmit three solar power sites that will generate up to 300 megawatts in total in the eastern region of Ethiopia.

The Ministry of Water and Energy and the Ethiopian Electrify Power Corporation said they have contracted Global Trade and Development Consulting (GTDC) and Energy Ventures the contracts after due diligence and the feasibility studies were done on the site earlier this year.

The Horn of Africa country – plagued by frequent blackouts – plans to boost its electricity capacity from 2,000 megawatts to 10,000 megawatts within the next three to five years, much of it coming from the 6,000 MW Grand Renaissance Dam under construction on the Nile.

“This project represents a significant advance in our Ethiopian energy initiative and is now part of our comprehensive Energy Plan,” Alemayehu Tegenu, minister of Water and Energy for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, told newnet.

“Given Ethiopia’s large hydro-electric generation capacity and now wind and geothermal power generation coming on-line, large scale solar fits nicely into our energy portfolio and will provide significant power generation capacity much faster than the other renewable technologies. We welcome this project with open arms.’

Yonnas Kefle, chief executive at of GTDC said they “spent months analyzing the potential for a large-scale solar project in Ethiopia. We found that Ethiopia has some of the highest solar irradiance factors in Africa. As with all our projects, we intend to also maximize the amount of local content and resources in performance of this project.”

Ethiopia is in the initial set of countries in President Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative. In addition to the needed power generation capacity, a key element of the 300MW solar project, is the economic development resulting in the creation of more than 2,000 construction jobs that would inject millions of dollars into the Ethiopian economy, the companies said.