More energy for more income

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Ethiopia has been one of the rapidly growing countries in Africa for the last ten years. Ethiopia’s plans for socio-economic growth call for expansion in renewable energy, irrigation-based agriculture, manufacturing, hydropower, and municipal water supply – all of which depend on reliable water.

It is important to acknowledge that Ethiopia is currently at a crucial moment, one where Ethiopians have to take clear and long-term decisions for the future development of the energy system. The growth and competitiveness of the economy are inseparable from the development and modernization of the energy system.

Cognizant of the above facts, three wind farms are currently in operation with a combined capacity of 324 MW apart from the construction of 120 MW Aysha wind farm project which is expected to start its operation by 2020, Nikolaj Lomholt Svensson, Senior Energy Advisor at the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) disclosed.

Despite delays due to sector transformation, high staff turnover and low institutional capacity making, lack of security in areas near some of the windiest sites can be raised as challenges for wind energy development in Ethiopia. Apart from this Assela Wind Farm Project will supply modern and reliable electricity when after its completion by mid-2021. And it will generate 100 MW of electric power, he added.

Government, the private sector, development partners and civil societyall have important roles to play in the development of effective water and energy security policies and in raising critical investments to realize the policy objectives, said Firehiwot Woldemariam (Ph.D.), state minister at MoWIE.

On the occasion, two panelists Andarge Eshete and Bezuwork Demisse state that individual, groups, cooperatives, public-private partnerships and non-public for-profit organizations should take their part in demanding surplus electric power for the country. Accordingly, they can participate in consulting, developing – IPPs, supplying equipment and contracting energy performance on a power plant, distribution, and transmission.

In spite of limited access to finance, lack of guarantee for investment and limited use of ICT are some of the defects for the investment, Ethiopia is still striving for offering access to energy for its society.

Currently, Ethiopia is generating a total power of 4263.1 MW of which 3819.6 MW from hydropower, 87 MW from diesel power, 7.5 MW from geothermal, 25 MW from WtE and 324 from wind power.

Plus, there are three major projects which are under construction. Great effort is exerted to scale up the generation capacity through mega projects like the GERD, Koysha and the Genale Dawa hydropower dam (to be inaugurated soon). There up, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will generate 6,450 MW, while that of Koyisha HEPP will generate 2100 MW power after the construction ended up. Also, Genale Dawa III start generating of 254 MW power very soon, Firehiwot added.

The MoWIE has prepared the first Ethiopian Water and Energy Week to create awareness and discuss the challenges among the energy sector. On the opening ceremony, the FDRE President Sahilework Zewde stressed the need to strengthen university-industry linkage in a bid to unleash the country’s water and energy potentials while opening the symposium two weeks ago.

As to her, the capital cost for the energy sector is substantial, the participation of the private sector is crucial and currently, a new space is created for this. The industry parks inaugurated and under development expect connection in order of 1500 MW. Among the public sector activities; the recently concluded deal with a Chinese company is one of the testaments. One cannot also underestimate the job opportunity, associated with the development of industrial parks, for over four million youth.

The president also expressed her strong belief that the discussion will make a professional contribution to the grand plans of the development projects led by the Ministry. “Similarly participants would dwell on research concepts and innovative ideas and discuss possible ways for university-sector and industry-linkage strengthening,” she avowed.

Following her Message University and private sector participants have promised to support the Ethiopian energy system. And to suffer the electricity problem of the overall society For his part, Dr. Sleshi Bekele, Minister of MoWIE, noted that the electric power expansion program will be addressed for 225 cities for the upcoming years. So far as to achieve the ultimate goal of the sector, the government has aimed to work with private partners.

Despite signs of progress, today only 44 percent of Ethiopian people have got access to electricity. The per capita consumption of electricity is only 100KW and one of the lowest in Sub Sharan Africa. Though stepping up efforts, Ethiopia aspires to achieve universal access through a grid and off-grid solution by the year 2025. Specifically, with the pilot of 12 towns project recently commenced, and needs extraordinary effort to reach the 35 percent of the rural area’s populations that can access through an off-grid, he added.

All in all the completion of these megaprojects will have significant contributions to the realization of the growth and transformation plan (GTP) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 The Ethiopian Herald July 13/2019

 BY HIZKEL HAILU