Ethiopia to launch geothermal project

Iceland’s Nesjavellir geothermal power station. Geothermal plants account for more than 25 percent of the electricity produced in Iceland. Photo: Gretar Ívarsson

ADDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia is preparing to launch a 75-MW Aluto Langano Geothermal project to tap into the country’s geothermal potential, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) said Thursday.

According to a statement by Bizuneh Tolcha, Communications Director of MoWIE, the World Bank has already provided financial assistance of about 126 million dollars.

“Thirteen percent of Ethiopia’s territory is located within the rift valley, with the country unable to produce a single MW of energy at the moment. We hope this project changes that picture,” it said.

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Ethiopia has the longest section of the 7,000-km East African Rift Valley, which boasts an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 megawatts (MW), but the country has been unable to match neighboring Kenya’s installed geothermal power capacity of about 630 MW.

A separate project supported by the U.S. government that aims to produce 1,000-MW geothermal energy has yet to start operations beset by technical, legal and financial issues.

Geothermal energy is considered a reliable renewable energy sources albeit with a greater start-up cost.

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