Ethiopia is pressing ahead with ambitious development plans with energy being the core to the mission of becoming the wind power capital of Africa.
The East African state has enjoyed a decade of strong growth, giving rise to profitable industries, new infrastructure, and showpiece summits. Ethiopia was among the most daring signatories to the Paris
Agreement on climate change, committing to cut carbon emissions by 64% by 2030.
The government has ploughed billions of dollars into hydropower megaprojects such as the Grand Renaissance Dam — which will be the largest dam in Africa — and the freshly-inaugurated Gibe III Dam.
According to CNN, Ethiopia inaugurated one of the continent’s largest wind farms in 2013 — the $290 million, 120-megawatt (MW) Ashedoga plant. This was followed by the even larger 153 MW Adama II facility in 2015.
The target of increasing wind output by more than 1,000 percent within four years has been greeted with skepticism in some quarters, but there are reasons to believe.
“The government has already taken on far bigger projects,” says Zekarias Amsalu, director of Ethiopia Operations at market research group Asoko Insight, referencing the $6 billion Grand Renaissance Dam project.
The government has enlisted the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) as a partner, the Danish government agency that serves as one-stop shop for large-scale wind projects across the world, and special advisor Henrik Breum agrees that Ethiopia has vast potential.
The sector will soon expand through the Grand Renaissance Dam — the largest dam in Africa.