Ethiopia to launch $2.5 billion geothermal electric project

Ethiopia, the east African nation currently facing severe energy shortage, is set to begin implementation of a new 520 MW geothermal electric power project.

The Tulu Moye Geothermal project will be implemented in West Arsi Zone in Oromia region of Ethiopia at a total cost of $2.5 billion. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tulu Moye Geothermal, Darrell Boyed told the state daily paper, The Ethiopian Herald that the Company is currently performing various works in the project site including opening offices in the project site and in Addis Ababa as well as constructing road at the project site.

He noted that as the project requires a high cost, it requires the support of anchor international institutions. So far, US Trade and Development Agency has shown interest to support the project, he told the paper. A study released in 2018 shows that Ethiopia has 10,000 megawatts of geothermal energy potential.

According to Tesfaye Kessa, Director of Geothermal Resource Development License and Administration Directorate at Ethiopian Energy Authority, 24 geothermal potential areas are identified at different parts of the country.

“When we compare with hydro energy though it is a renewable source of power, if there is shortage of rain, it does not generate the required amount of energy,” he told paper. The project would have greater advantages for the social and economic growth of the country in terms of reducing power outages, he added.

The paper stated that high operational cost to construct geothermal projects and lack of skilled human power in geothermal sector has hindered Ethiopia from develop its huge geothermal source.

The report indicated that the Authority has been undertaking a number of activities to commence the project and to benefit the community by enhancing energy sources, according to the state daily.

Mentioning that Ethiopia had no geothermal proclamation in earlier years, he said that the newly enacted Geothermal Resource Development Proclamation plays role to develop the available energy resources and promotes the participation of private investment in the sector thereby achieve accelerated development.