Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia are exploring the development of solar power projects with a total capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) and related grid infrastructure across Ethiopia.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, and HE Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s office in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital. The signing was witnessed by HE Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and HE Mohamed Salem Al Rashdi, the UAE’s Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The agreement covers the development, financing, design, engineering, procurement, construction, testing, commissioning, insurance, ownership, operation, maintenance and transfer of photovoltaic (PV) plants, and the infrastructure required to transmit the electricity. The aim is to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) and other relevant agreements later this year, and to commence commercial operations in 2022.
“This initiative will mark a significant step forward for Ethiopia’s efforts to diversify its energy mix and to drive economic development,” said Al Ramahi. “Masdar has been a catalyst for renewable energy and clean-tech innovation in more than 30 countries around the world, and we look forward to working with the Government of Ethiopia to help deliver universal access to electricity for all its people.”
While Ethiopia’s electricity grid is almost 100 percent supplied by clean energy sources, chiefly hydropower, more than half of its population still lack direct access to electricity. Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program aims to achieve universal energy access by 2025 and to become a power hub in Eastern Africa. The government is also focused on diversifying its energy mix with wind, solar, and geothermal sources to reduce dependence on hydropower, which is vulnerable to fluctuations in rainfall.