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Ethiopia looks to realise its geothermal energy potential

February 13, 2013

Ethiopia looks to realise its geothermal energy potential

Ethiopia, like its fellow Great Rift Valley countries, has enormous geothermal energy potential. However, the costs involved and the need for skilled expertise have, until now, been major obstacles.

In late January, the Development Bank of Ethiopia announced that, over the next five months, it will offer an initial $20m to kickstart geothermal energy projects in the country’s private sector as part of a programme funded by the World Bank. A further $20m is expected to be made available at a later stage.

Last May, the World Bank granted Ethiopia $40m to help accelerate the development of renewable energy projects in the country’s private sector. The Development Bank of Ethiopia says it is in discussions with several interested parties and is collaborating with the World Bank.

The money will help cover the costs of early exploration and drilling activities. When drilling proves successful, the bank will invite private investors to lead geothermal projects and develop power plants in Ethiopia. Cluff Geothermal – a British company involved in developing Kenya’s first geothermal project, in Menengai – has been shortlisted.

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