Expansion work is to begin at the Aluto-Langano Geo-thermal Power Plant, in February, with the delivery of equipment to the site.
The project, estimated to cost 35 million dollars, has already had 17 containers of materials delivered, with 10 more currently at the dry port, according to Miskir Negash, public relations officer of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo).
The Corporation will also import 400tn of international standard cement over the coming few weeks, Miskir said.
The expansion includes the digging of four wells, up to 2,500m deep, boosting Aluto-Langano's geo-thermal capacity to 70Mw; the total potential for the country is 5,000Mw.
EEPCo has confirmed that up to 100Mw of power can be produced from the Aluto steam field - an eight square metre area located in Aluto, 200Km south of Addis Abeba, in the Rift Valley Lakes region. The project is part of the government plan to raise power output to 10,000 Mw by 2015, in order to meet the growing demand, in line with the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).
The increased production of thermal power, which is cheaper than hydro and diesel, could help the EEPCo to reduce the unit price it charges for power, says Misikir. The government's five-year transformation plan envisions reducing the unit cost of power generation investments and operations, in order to provide electricity at an affordable price.
This project is part of the third phase expansion of the Aluto-Langano geo-thermal power generation project, which is taking place using a 12 million dollar grant from the Japanese government, a 13 million dollar loan from the World Bank and 10 million dollars from the Ethiopian government, said Miskir. The project is expected to be completed by 2016.
The plant will be built by the Ethiopian government, whilst the Japanese consulting company, Japan International Cooperation Systems (JICS), will be on hand to consult EEPCo.
Geo-thermal exploration began in Ethiopia in 1969, with a survey that covered 150,000sqm in the Ethiopian Rift Valley, namely; Aluto-Langano, Tendaho, Corbetti, Abaya, Gedemsa and Tulu areas.