Wind energy earmarked as a cost-effective solution for a better generation mix to the hydro-based energy system of Ethiopia.
This was highlighted during a joint Danish-Ethiopian wind project development seminar held among various energy institutions.
Henrik Breum, Special Advisor for Danish Energy Agency said that Ethiopia has a substantial potential in wind energy. "The country has vast areas where it has high wind in areas that are close to the places that are expected to host industries." So, combined with the country's hydro-power potential, wind energy can be stabilizing factor as a seasonal complementarity to the hydro-based energy system, he explains.
"Ethiopia has a dry and wet season, and the strong point about the country is that in the dry season there is a high wind, and in the wet not so much wind, but a lot of water/hydro-power. So, you have a very strong fundamentals to create a system like the one in the Nordic region, where you have wind in Denmark, hydro in Norway and Sweden. You can do that internally in Ethiopia."
The Advisor also think that wind energy can serve as a stabilizer in the country's electricity supply. Mentioning how Denmark created one of the most stable energy system in the whole of Europe through utilization of a very high level of wind penetration, he opines that not only wind can serve as a stabilizing factor for Ethiopia, but also as a fast means to develop electricity supply in the country.
Furthermore, he points out another strong points for wind in Ethiopia is how it can combine with the agriculture sector in a good way. "Because wind energy does not take a lot of footprint, the country can still be able to grow crops and have livestock." Citing Denmark's experience, he notes how farmers can get additional income from harvesting energy apart from growing their fields.
Moreover, as a reliable, clean energy supply, Breum sees in wind energy an attractive package for industries to come to Ethiopia, and a showcase of long term sustainable green development of energy sector for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. "Unlike what has happened in Asian countries where pollution destroyed major Asian cities, hopefully, Ethiopia can show Africa a new ways of developing a country in a sustainable, clean way by enacting the local citizens and creating jobs for the population."
The tremendous advantages wind energy brings to the table, and the country's enormous potential is not lost on the government. The country's national development plans, more specifically GTP II, stipulates that the share of wind power should increase to 1,200 MW by 2020/21.
Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Dr. Engineer. Seleshi Bekele points out that such plan requires mobilizing of substantial private investments in a short time-frame and at a scale to ensure long term sustainable growth and development.
To this end, the government has made concrete interventions to review the sector's policy in relation to the successful agreement with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and recently the Parliament has ratified the PPP Proclamation, he remarked.
Citing how the Proclamation aims to promote and facilitate, among others, the country's energy sector, the Minister indicated that it provides the framework for the private sector to bring in its own finance, and in the process help realize the country's infrastructure systems, as it is not possible to do it by government finance alone.
During the Seminar, a 'Wind Project Development Roadmap' - which includes a thematic policy and action-plan for accelerating wind power generation in Ethiopia - was presented for discussion for Ethiopian and Danish energy authorities and experts.
The Minister stated that a strategic document has been prepared to bolster the development of wind energy in Ethiopia, which has now been official. He shared his belief that the roadmap would serve as a valuable blueprint for matching the new policy guidelines for public-private partnership in the energy sector with the best international practices.
Danish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mette Thygesen, for her part noted that the roadmap provides an up-to-date, logically organized framework for prioritizing initiatives and procedures for developing and scaling up wind power in Ethiopia. "Implemented accordingly, they will enable the mobilization of much needed private investments, both from domestic and international sources."
As a cost-effective energy source, and the short time span it takes for installation makes wind energy an important part of the effort to electrify the country.
The Ambassador also claims that the roadmap is drafted in close collaboration with Ethiopian government partner institutions, Ministries of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Finance and Economic Cooperation, and Ethiopian Economic Association and the Ethiopian Electric Power.
Practical experiences from Danish wind auctions and best practices from international partners - such as the World Bank - and other countries with Danish energy partnerships - such as Indonesia and South Africa - have also been incorporated.