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New data on Energy transition potential in Ethiopia


Addis Ababa, March 7th 2019

A new research on the integration of Variable Renewable Energy Sources (VRES) in the National Electric System of Ethiopia, developed  by Enel Foundation and RES4Africa, shows that the country can accommodate up to 3.6 GW of wind capacity and as much as 5.3 GW of solar PV capacity by 2030.

The research project aimed at analyzing different scenarios of VRES deployment – namely PV and wind – calculating the optimal technical-economic levels of variable renewable energy integration in the Ethiopian electric system ensuring the reliability, integrity and efficiency of the country’s electric power system.  With a strong dependency on hydro power currently, the country could see its renewable mix improve by growing from the current 0.3 GW of wind capacity to 2.4 GW by 2025, before reaching 3.6 GW by 2030. In the same period, virtually inexistent solar PV capacity can reach an impressive 3.3 GW by 2025 ahead of the 5.3 GW projected installed capacity by 2030.

With more than 60 million habitants still without electricity, Ethiopia’s growth in renewable capacity, through projects such as Enel Green Power’s 100 MW Metehara solar PV project in the region of Oromia, will strongly support the country’s electricity access efforts.

In producing its projections, the study considered several technical and economic constraints such as balancing resources, reserve requirements, generation fleet flexibility, security of supply, grid loadability and economic competitiveness of VRES technologies in the regional power pool. In addition, in order to optimize the VRES integration in Ethiopia, the network interconnections with neighboring countries have also been taken into consideration.

Carlo Papa, Director of Enel Foundation highlighted the importance of these results, “This will allow to achieve a well-balanced energy mix, reaching almost 25% of energy produced by wind and PV power plants, both in 2025 and in 2030, increasing substantially the system resilience in case of extreme climate conditions and diminishing the strong dependency of Ethiopia from hydro”.

The presentation took place at RES4AFRICA High-Level Business to Government Workshop, held in Addis Ababa on March 7th, themed “Accelerating the Renewable Energy Transition in Ethiopia”. The workshop focused on the long-term strategies for integrating renewable energy in the country, attracting investments and exploiting the socio-economic benefits of renewables in Ethiopia.

The closed-door event involved Ethiopian key stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopian Electric Agency, Ethiopian Electric Utility, and multilateral agencies, like the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission.

Additional research projects with RES4Africa

Enel Foundation and RES4Africa are currently producing a similar research piece to the one presented in Ethiopia focusing on Zambia, after a successful stakeholder engagement workshop recently held in Lusaka.

However, in order to exploit the renewable potential across the whole continent, policy and regulation challenges still need to be removed. That’s why Enel Foundation has supported another seminal research from RES4Africa on how to foster Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development and Private Investment in Africa.

A working group composed by other RES4Africa members and led by PwC, contributed to a a white paper analyzing  best practices and weaknesses on current RE financing mechanisms, thus stressing the need for a new instrument to support large scale RE plant development in Africa. Such new tool will aim to overcome existing barriers and provide investors with a “one-stop shop” instrument for financing and guarantees, providing governments in the Region with a reliable tool to support their policy and the regulatory frameworks.

foster Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development and Private Investment in Africa

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Integration of variable renewable energy in the national electric system of Ethiopia

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