Iceland to Help Develop Geothermal Energy in Ethiopia

The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Þingvellir, Iceland.
The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Þingvellir, Iceland.

The Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) has signed a Partnership Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia for geothermal surface exploration and capacity building for the development of geothermal energy in Ethiopia.

The implementing agencies in Ethiopia are the Geological Survey of Ethiopia (GSE) and the and Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO). The cooperation with Ethiopia is initiated under the Iceland—World Bank compact on geothermal energy. The project in Ethiopia is the second project to be initiated under the ICEIDA/NDF Geothermal Exploration Project, with the first one already under way in Rwanda.

Geothermal energy in Ethiopia is considered to be abundant (up to 5000 MW). The Ethiopian government is currently implementing a strategy to develop its renewable energy resources including geothermal side by side with hydro, in order to strengthen energy security in the country and ensure sustainable supply. To this end, geothermal, the only base load renewable energy resource in the country has been given significant attention. Up until now limited geothermal development has taken place, but the Government of Ethiopia has now prioritized geothermal development as a key area in their energy development, and the cooperation within the ICEIDA/NDF project is part of efforts in this regard.

The overall objective of the cooperation is to assist the Government of Ethiopia to increase their renewable energy access through low emissions geothermal energy development for the social and economic benefit of the country. The immediate objective of the project is to identify potential sites for exploration drilling in the target areas and develop capacity in Ethiopia to advance geothermal energy production in the country. The focus of this project will thus both address the needs for GSE and EEPCO to build capacity to handle further growth and development in geothermal energy production, as well as assist with finalizing geothermal surface explorations and associated geophysical and geochemical studies in order to identify locations for drilling of exploration and production wells in target sites. The collaboration with Ethiopia further links together under the compact between Iceland and the World Bank and various aspects of the outputs under this project have direct and indirect linkages with World Bank supported activities.

The geothermal surface exploration activities will focus on the areas of Tendaho Alalobeda and Aluto Langano, both considered to have great potential for energy production. A capacity building project for geothermal exploration will also be initiated in the area of Gedemsa. The capacity building components will further focus on geothermal drilling as well as operations and maintenance of geothermal power plants.

The above story is based on or reprinted from materials provided by Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA).

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