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German players driving Ethiopia

With a growing electricity deficit, Ethiopia is now working with German partners and financiers to push ahead its latest wind power project and explore new public-private joint venture plans.

Ethiopia has identified potential wind power sites with a development target of around 700MW to be completed over the next decade. The first online will be a 120MW plant currently under construction at Ashegoda, due for completion in 2012 (Windpower Monthly, December 2009). Progress is now also being made on two other equally ambitious projects.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with local firm Aethiopic Energy for a 300MW site at Aysha, near the Djibouti border. It is being developed with a strategic consortium supported by a public-private partnership, consisting of the German Development Corporation, Germany's EnerVest and RenewCo, plus Italy's Consta.

The consortium is raising finance with the help of German firm Deutsche Unternehmensfinanzierung, and the first turbines could start turning in late 2011.

Change

While all of Ethiopia's infrastructure projects up to now have been built with assistance from international finance institutions and little local participation, the consortium is open to other deal structures, says project manager Sebastian Herzig.

One idea under consideration is to develop parts of the Aysha project as a public-private partnership, with an Ethiopian public enterprise jointly owning the project and aiming at technology transfer. According to the consortium, the African Development Bank recently demonstrated "a strong interest" in supporting such a set-up under its private sector programme.

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