Since 2017 Enel Green Power works in Ethiopia to help the country diversify its energy mix and attain its ambitious goals in sustainability. EGP is constantly committed on this objective, through the use of technology, innovation, solid projects and a longstanding relationship with local communities. Diversity is what makes Ethiopia truly unique. The country is a melting pot of millenary cultures and traditions, while its endless sequence of ridges and rift valleys host impressive landscapes like no other African state, home for over 30 native species.
Back in 2016, when the Ethiopian government went all-in on renewables, the country’s trademark diversity found its way in the energy sector, becoming a harbinger for sustainable development.
As a matter of fact, Ethiopia’s national growth plan (Growth and Transformation Plan 2), calls for 13,7 GW worth of new renewable capacity,coming from hydro (10 GW), geothermal (0,6 GW), wind (0,9 GW), solar (0,2 GW) and biomass (0,7 GW). The Growth and Transformation Plan 2 is testament to a strong push for a mix of different renewable energy sources.
Despite the impressive grid expansion in Ethiopia to date, the percentage of electrified households remains low at only about 33%. The Government’s recently launched National Electrification Program envisions that by 2025, 65% of the population will be connected to the grid as they place a strong emphasis on scaling up connections in areas within short-term reach of the grid.
The other 35% – or around 7.7 million households – will need an interim off-grid solution while waiting for grid expansion, or even a permanent one where appropriate, such as in very remote areas where grid access will remain too costly and logistically challenging even in the long term.
General Electric (GE) of the United States, the world’s premier digital industrial company, has commissioned a scalable micro grid system powered by a Hybrid Distributed Power unit for Digo Village in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The system which was implemented in partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the Oromia Region Energy bureau as well as Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) will provide reliable, cost effective power to 1,500 inhabitants of Digo providing critical power to a health clinic, school, administrative offices and homes.
The commissioning is consistent with Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program – Implementation Road Map (NEP-IRM) which seeks for a coordinated off-grid implementation program plan, designed for accelerated scale-up of mini grid solutions in rural and deep rural areas. According to Dr. Eng. Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, “Electricity access is an essential pillar of economic and social development. Localized solutions such as the Hybrid Distributed Power unit provided by GE will be part of the solution to electrify Ethiopia going forward”.
Solar home systems can help to bridge the electrification gap in developing countries—if certain conditions are met.
About a billion people have no access to electricity. While progress in lessening that figure has been steady, it is still likely to be at least 870 million in 2020.1Expanding the grid is part of the answer to the question of how to bring power to these people, but it is not the only one. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,2which make up 90 percent of the world’s unelectrified population, are also exploring off-grid solutions, including solar home systems (SHSs). So are countries in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, which account for most of the remaining unelectrified population. The global market for SHSs has grown 23 percent a year since 2012,3representing more than four million units installed.