As part of its plan to become a regional energy exporter, Ethiopia says it is working on a new power strategy to boost electricity production.
On Tuesday (November 26), prominent Ethiopian and foreign experts began consulting on ways to implement Addis Ababa’s 25-year power master plan. Head of the state utility, Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo), Mihret Debeb, told reporters that the new power policy will enable Ethiopia to generate 37,000 mega watts (MW) of electrical energy by 2037.
Ethiopia’s current power production stands at around 2,300 MW. However, experts say the stated amount of power is not enough to produce the increased demand in the countries industrial sector and taking into account the country’s fast economic growth.
Under the country’s 2010 five-year growth and transformation plan, Ethiopia has plans to increase its power generation to 10,000 MW and to sustain its economic growth at 11-15% per year until 2015.
Experts told Sudan Tribune that under the new plan Ethiopia will eventually be able to export over 4,000 MW of hydro-power to some nine countries in the East African region. This could eventually be extended to North and South African nations. Last year Ethiopia’s energy industry grew by around 18%.
According to the experts, the 25-year energy strategy will cost Ethiopia $100 billion. The funds are expected to be secured from local sources and from international funds. As part of the plan, Ethiopia will build over 16,000km of high voltage transmission lines in the next 10 years.
If Ethiopia succeeds with its ambitious strategy of the next quarter of a century, the experts say that the East African nation will be able to control a huge regional market giving Addis Ababa a strategic economic and political advantage in the region. Currently Ethiopia is exports 60MW of electricity to neighbouring Djibouti and around 100MW to Sudan, boosting the country’s income considerably.
According to the EEPCo, Ethiopia has a potential to produce some 45,000 megawatts of electricity from hydro-power alone.