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Ethiopia has approximately 529 MW of installed generating capacity. The vast majority of Ethiopia's existing capacity (85%) is hydroelectric but the country has vast untapped geothermal power sources. Ethiopia also has significant oil and gas reserves and has not yet exhausted its economic hydro power potential.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), the state-owned firm responsible for electricity generation, plans to construct several new generating facilities to provide electricity to Ethiopia. Currently, less than half of Ethiopia's towns (about 13% of the population) have access to electricity though EEPCO electrified more than eighty towns between 2001 and 2003. Electrification is expected to rise to 20% by 2012.

Since most of Ethiopia's electricity is generated from hydroelectric dams, the country's power system is vulnerable to extended droughts. Ethiopia recently endured more than six months of power cuts due to low water levels in dams around the country. Initially blackouts were scheduled once a week, but as the drought wore on, customers lost power for 15 hours two days a week, a situation that strained the resources of many businesses in urban centers.

Ethiopia Electricity Utilities

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO)is the state-owned firm responsible for electrical power generation, transmission and distribution in Ethiopia.

Plans & Projects

EEPCO is rapidly expanding their generating capacity. Ethiopia has inaugurated the second 400 MW phase of a controversial hydroelectric scheme on the Omo River. Issues of displacement of people, potential water conflict, and environmental problems aside, the original piece says that within the next decade Ethiopia plans on being a net-exporter of electricity because of the project--and have it overtake coffee as the nation's largest export.

The third phase of the Gilbel Gibe project, which originally commenced in October 2003, will be a whopping 1.8 GW in size, and Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan have all already agreed to buy power from Ethiopia. The project will double Ethiopia's electric capacity.

In 2008, Ethiopia signed a 220-million-euro (300 million dollar) deal with a French company for the construction of Africa's largest wind farm. The contract was inked by representatives of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPC) and French wind turbine manufacturer Vergnet.The wind farm is expected to produce 120 megawatts within two and half years, making it the largest such project on the continent.

Key Figures

  • Electricity produced: 3.46 billion KWh (2007)
  • Electricity consumed: 3.13 billion KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Exported: 0 KWh (2008)
  • Electricity Imported: 0 KWh (2008)

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