Expansion work at the Aluto-Langano Geothermal Power Plant, to boost its capacity to 70mw, launched on Wednesday at a cost of over 30 million USD.
Drilling of wells, up to 2,500m deep started on that day.
Speaking on the occasion, Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu said the expansion will improve the power the country is generating from geothermal to 70mw from the previous seven megawatts.
He said activities are well underway to generate 77mw electric power from geothermal energy by 2007EC.
The cost of the expansion project will be covered with financial assistance from the government of Japan and the World Bank as well as the coffers of the government.
Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Kazuhiro Suzuki for his part said his country has provided 10 million USD assistance to support the project.
Located in the Rift Valley lakes region, the Aluto Langano is the first geothermal power plant in Ethiopia.
The geothermal resource covers an area of about eight square kilometers.
It was launched in 1998 as a pilot project to test the geothermal resources and identify any issues that could affect the power plant.
Various studies confirmed that up to 100mw electricity can be produced from the Aluto steam field, known to be one of the high temperature prospected areas in the country.