Ethiopian minister says work on 1-GW geothermal project to begin in July

(SeeNews) - Apr 8, 2014 - Construction work on the 1,000-MW Korbete geothermal project in Ethiopia’s Afar region will start in July, the country’s energy minister Alemayehu Tegenu said.

The minister told Ethiopia's Fana Radio that the plant worth about USD-2-billion (EUR 1.45bn) will become fully operational within six years. Tegenu noted that the first phase of the scheme will have a production capacity of 500 MW.

The African nation has so far utilised 8 MW of geothermal energy, but has the potential of generating a total of 6,000 MW, the radio station reported.

Last month, Bloomberg quoted the chief operating officer (COO) of the Iceland-based project developer Reykjavik Geothermalc as saying the company will begin drilling works on the scheme by July. COO Gunnar Orn Gunnarsson also mentioned that installing 500 MW of geothermal plants will boost Ethiopia’s power capacity by 25%. Once the plant is up and running, Reykjavik Geothermal will be selling the output to Ethiopian Electric Power Corp (EEPCo) for a term of over 25 years under a power purchase agreement.

The particular geothermal project is part of US President Barack Obama’s USD-7-billion initiative to double access to power in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.726)

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