Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blog 8: Wind Farm in Ethiopia

 The Ashegoda Wind Farm is the largest in Africa, with 84 turbines, and is estimated to generate 120 megawatts of electricity. The wind farm cost $290 million dollars and was built by French firm Vergnet SA. According to experts, the wind power potential in Ethiopia is third in Africa behind Egypt and Morocco.The Ashegoda Wind Farm was initially set for completion back in 2011, but was delayed due to logistics. Currently, Ethiopia gets most of its power from hydroelectricity, but this poses a problem during drought seasons. According to Mihret Debebe, CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, "It compliments hydro power, which is seasonal. When you have a dry water season we have higher wind speed". 

The population in Ethiopia is growing and they are forming a more stable economy that is focused on using clean energy. European and Chinese investment in coal-powered electricity has lowered the cost of producing wind power. Because of this, the use of wind power and hydro power to generate electricity is becoming worthwhile investment . According to Roman Coutrot, a site manager at Vergnet SA, the organization that built the Ashegoda Wind Farm, says, "The problem they might face is financing but they are not worried about that".  The country plans that, along with the wind power, geothermal power from the East African Rift will make Ethiopia carbon- neutral by 2025. The country's focus and ability to act upon a plan to produce green energy that contrasts the pollution mayhem occurring in China is promising and advantageous for the current and future populations. While clearly, the energy is clean and sustainable, it still leaves many citizens of Ethiopia in the dark. 77 percent of Ethiopians are without power and the government in Ethiopia will need to work on a plan to get this sustainable electricity to its own citizens first, and neighboring countries second. Ethiopia has shown determination and innovation in yielding the electrical potential of its geography and weather, they will hopefully show the same in making sure their citizens can reap the benefits of the clean energy sources. Doing so would benefit the economic growth of the country and provide Ethiopian citizens with better living standards.

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