Africa

Turbine transformation: Ethiopia turns on to wind energy

Published 6:02 AM ET, Tue December 20, 2016
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The turbine of Ashegoda wind farm in Northern Ethiopia, which was the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa when it was inaugurated in 2013. The $300 million facility represents a major step forward in Ethiopia's plans to become a renewable energy powerhouse. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Just a quarter of Ethiopia's population had access to electricity in 2013, but the government aims to reach 90% coverage by 2020. Wind power is key to this ambition. According to the East African state's Growth and Transformation Plan II, wind output will rise from 324 MW to 5,200 MW in the next four years. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Ethiopia's largest wind farm is now the Adama II facility, with a capacity of 153 MW, but the government plans to inaugurate at least eight farms by 2020. Danish Energy Agency
Ethiopia is also committing resources to developing other forms of renewable energy. The majority of its energy comes from hydropower, such as the recently inaugurated Gibe III dam in the Omo Valley, with a capacity of over 1.8 gigawatts (GW).

This will soon be added to by the Grand Renaissance Dam, which will be the largest dam in Africa, with capacity of 6 GW.
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Several other African states are investing heavily in wind power and rival Ethiopia's prowess in the field. Morocco is a major player, and the Tarfaya wind farm is the largest capacity in Africa at around 300 MW. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa also boasts abundant wind resources such as the 100 MW Sere wind farm in the Western Cape province, and the sector is expanding rapidly. RODGER BOSCH/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Street lamps powered by wind and solar energy line the side of a road close to the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Kenya is making a priority of wind, notably through the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project that will be the largest in Africa with a capacity of 310 MW. TONY KARUMBA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa also boasts abundant wind resources such as the 100 MW Sere wind farm in the Western Cape province, and the sector is expanding rapidly. RODGER BOSCH/AFP/AFP/Getty Images