December 20, 2017 - Ethiopia signed an agreement to build two geothermal power plants at a combined cost of $4 billion, to be run by the country’s first privately-owned utility.The Corbetti and Tulu Moye plants will produce a combined 1,000 MW of power upon completion in eight years time in the volcanically-active Rift Valley in southern Ethiopia. As Ethiopia’s first privately-owned utility, the project will be operated by the developers for a period of 25 years.
Ethiopia is eager to meet rising energy demand from its industries as well as becoming the continent’s biggest exporter of energy.
“No doubt the success of this effort will have a significant impact in the country’s future economic well-being,” said Azeb Asnake, chief executive of state-run Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP).
The project’s equity investors include the Paris-based asset manager Meridiam, as well as the Africa Renewable Energy Fund and InfraCo Africa - funds that focus on infrastructure.
In an economy traditionally dominated by state spending, the government has suggested that the nascent sector could be a model for increased private investment.
“Going forward, the government recognises the added value to be gained by working in partnership with the private sector, specifically in sharing with it the burden of investment for large-scale power generation,” said Seleshi Bekele, minister of water, irrigation and electricity.