The 120MW Ashegoda wind farm in Ethiopia was constructed in stages over four years and is expected to generate 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year
Africa’s largest wind farm, the Ashegoda development in Ethiopia, is now operating and generating electricity. The 120MW €210m (£179m) facility, located near Mekelle in Tigray, is expected to generate 400 million kWh of power per year with 90 million kWh already having been sent to the country’s national grid. It consists of 84 wind turbines and is part of the Ethiopian government’s plans to build a ‘climate resilient’ economy by 2025.
The project was first announced in 2008 and was the first facility of its kind when it was officially launched the following October. Since then however the Adama I and II wind farms have been constructed south of Addis Ababa, both of which have a 51MW capacity. The Ashegoda facility has been funded by French bank BNP Paribas, the French Development Agency (ADF) and the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) which will be responsible for actually operating the plant.
Ethiopia currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, prompting visits by western diplomats such as the UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker who led a cleantech trade delegation to the country last year. Ethiopia has a five year development plan in place which envisages an increase in its current power generation capacity to 10GW by 2015. At present it has only managed to generate 2GW from green energy sources. Most of the renewable energy generation in Africa so far has concentrated on schemes to assist off-grid projects in rural communities, however the continent is rapidly exploiting its green energy opportunities such as the 15MW solar farm in Mauritania, a 155MW development in Ghana and plans for a 138MW wind farm and two 50MW solar farms in South Africa.