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Largest wind farm in Sub-Saharan Africa begins production in Ethiopia

The Ashegoda wind farm will provide a source of renewable electricity for nearly one million people each year

The Ashegoda wind farm, Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest, has begun production in Ethiopia, adding 120 MW in capacity to the country’s burgeoning renewable energy plans. With planned annual production of 400 GWh, the new complex located close to the city of Mekele, will save 300,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and provide a source of renewable electricity for nearly one million people every year.

“Ethiopia might have one of the most impressive investment plans in renewable energy in Africa,” said Roman Coutrot, site manager for the French firm Vergnet SA, which built the power-generating complex. “It’s not only talking, they are acting and signing contracts.”

This project, consisting of 84 wind turbines including 30 Vergnet GEV HP 1MW turbines, is located in Tigray region, approximately 780 kilometres north of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. As lead contractor, Vergnet led the management of the project with the assistance of partners including Alstom and with the support of the French government.

“We can be proud of the choice of the Ethiopian authorities to trust French technology for such a project,” said Nicole Bricq, French Minister of Foreign Trade. “With the completion of the plant, Vergnet has a great showcase that will be a valuable asset in winning other markets, such as in Nigeria.”

The wind farm will assist with Ethiopia’s efforts to diversify electricity generation and to become a major regional exporter of energy. Ethiopia’s ambitious and comprehensive goals include reaching 800 MW in wind capacity and 10,000 MW in total energy capacity in the next three to five years.

As Ethiopia’s population increases in the capital Addis Ababa and across the country, securing sources of power beyond the country’s ample hydropower is essential.

“Various studies have proved that there is potential to harness abundant wind energy resources in every region of Ethiopia,” said Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. “We cannot maintain growth without utilising the energy sector.”