Ethiopia has announced plans to invest $40 billion in the construction of new renewable energy infrastructure over the next 10 years. Electricity will largely be generated from hydroelectric, wind, solar, and geothermal power facilities and will be exported to other East African countries.

Ethiopia currently has an installed capacity of 4,965 MW but this capacity is expected to double with the commissioning of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will have a capacity of 6,450 MW. As part of this new strategy, Ethiopia’s government will continue to improve its hydroelectric infrastructure. In the next years, Addis Ababa intends to construct 16 hydroelectric dams.

As per reports, Ethiopia’s plan for renewable energy development will also include a significant amount of wind power. In the following years, twenty-four wind-generating projects will be built. That said, Ethiopia is just getting started with wind energy, with the first project being built around 150 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, near the town of Iteya in Oromia Regional State. The Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy-built Assela wind farm will have a capacity of 100 MW. In addition, Ethiopia also intends to enhance its installed solar energy capacity over the next ten years, with at least 14 projects planned. Although the initial projects will be built through the Scaling Solar initiative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, Ethiopia does not yet produce solar energy on a significant scale.

Ethiopia has already begun to tap into the Rift Valley’s geothermal potential, with projects at Tulu Moye, Aluto Langano, and Corbetti. In the next years, Addis Ababa plans to build 17 geothermal projects. Ethiopia plans to have 35,000 MW of installed capacity by 2037. Much of this power will be utilised for international trade, especially in the Horn of Africa and East Africa.

REGlobal’s Views: Hydroelectric plants have long gestation periods, are expensive and have environmental concerns. Thus, many African nations are tapping more non-hydro renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal to reduce their dependency on rainfall dependent hydro power.