RES4Africa leads a business-to-government workshop in Ethiopia to accelerate the country’s energy transition

Addis Ababa, 7 March 2019 – RES4Med&Africa holds a high-level business-to-government (B2G) workshop in Addis Ababa titled “Accelerating the renewable energy transition in Ethiopia”. The event gathers 100 people representing the private sector, government, international organizations, IFIs and press to discuss the most effective strategies to integrate variable renewable energy – like solar and wind – into the national electric system, attracting investments and fully exploiting the socio-economic benefits of renewables in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has the largest water reserves in Africa, and for this reason more than 85% of total installed capacity is from hydroelectric plants. This hydro-dominated energy system has been severely affected by drought in the past years, resulting in energy shortages. In addition to this, the electrification rate of 85% in urban areas is high, but it drops dramatically to 10% in rural areas, so only around 25% of Ethiopian citizens enjoy access to energy. Finally, population and GDP growth also result in an increased demand for electricity in the coming years. For these reasons, the Ethiopian government is turning its attention to other renewable energy sources different from hydro, of which the country is rich, to diversify its generation mix on the one hand, and to increase the electrification rate on the other.

The acceleration of the transition process towards renewable energy will be centre of the high-level and intense discussion between the public and private sector during the workshop. High institutional presence is represented by Dr. Frehiwot Woldehanna, State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, and Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary at UNECA. On the other hand, the private sector sees the presence of renewable energy actors such as Enel Green Power and Siemens Gamesa. Local stakeholders also include representatives of the Ministry of Finance, of Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and of the Ethiopian Energy Authority (EEA).

The workshop presents the study “Integration of variable renewable energy into the national electric system”, carried out by RES4Africa and Enel Foundation thanks to the expertise of CESI. The study, requested to RES4Africa by Ethiopian Electric Power, assesses the optimal technical-economic amount of variable renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, that can be integrated into the grid while ensuring network stability, and provides the Ethiopian government with a technical and in-depth tool which will aid them in the planning of future policies.

“Since we launched RES4Africa in 2016, our relationship with Ethiopia has been strong and ongoing: following our Program Launch in Ethiopia in 2017, we now return for the B2G workshop and with an impressive publication to assist the Ethiopian government in their renewable energy transition” states Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4Med&Africa, “But it’s not all: I’m glad to announce that we will hold our Annual Conference here in Addis Ababa in June, for the first time in Africa. A strong signal, I believe, of cooperation and collaboration with our African partners”.