The consortium will be investing approximately US$120m in developing, building and operating 100MW of photovoltatic (PV) capacity in Metehara.
Enel is the largest private energy player in Africa’s renewable sector in terms of installed capacity and Ethiopia is seen as having the potential to become a key market for its strategy. “The country has plenty of renewable sources that can generate energy at affordable rates thanks to modern green technologies,” said Antonio Cammisecra, head of Enel Green Power. “Additionally, Ethiopia boasts a stable regulatory framework, based on tenders and PPAs [power purchase agreements], and steady energy-demand growth, which is also sustained by a long-term electrification plan.”
The Enel-led consortium, which also includes Ethiopian infrastructure company Orchid Business Group, has been selected as the preferred bidder for the PV project following a tender launched by local utility Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP). The work is taking place within the framework of the country’s Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP 2).
The Ethiopian government’s GTP 2 is expected to collect nearly 12,000 MW of new hydro, wind, geothermal and solar capacity in partnership with the private sector, with the aim of meeting the country’s electrification needs while diversifying its generation mix in line with the government’s energy plan for the years up to 2020.
The facility will be located in Metehara, in the Oromia region, almost 200km east of Addis Ababa, an area that enjoys high levels of solar radiation. The Metehara plant is expected to enter into operation in 2019. Once up and running, the facility will be able to generate approximately 280GWh per year, while avoiding the emission of around 296,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The solar park will be supported by a 20-year PPA with EEP for all of the energy generated by the plant.
Ethiopia has an installed generation capacity of around 4.3GW, 90% coming from hydropower, 8% from wind and 1% from thermal sources. It has major solar, wind and geothermal as well as hydro potential. Approximately 27.2% of Ethiopia’s population of 102 million have access to electricity.