Despite the fact the green economy in Ethiopia is flourishing, most of the locals are not feeling the benefit.
Africa's largest wind farm, The Ashegoda Wind Farm was just opened last week . The wind farm is expected to generate 120 megawatts of electricity. It came online just days after Ethiopia announced a preliminary agreement to build a 1000-megawatt geothermal facility, the largest in Africa.
With Africa's economy becoming stronger and a more stable government in place, East Africa is eager for more power – and it wants green power, says Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council. "People see what's happening in China with the air pollution and they don't want coal-fired power stations." European and Chinese investment has helped the price of wind power fall below that of coal-generated electricity. "It's becoming an economic option."
Ethiopia may have access to a terawatt of wind power to add to the vast hydropower resources that now supply 90 per cent of its electricity. Add the geothermal potential of the East African Rift and the country's goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025 starts to look plausible.
The real challenge will be delivering that power to its people. According to the International Energy Agency, 77 per cent of Ethiopians do not have access to electricity. Most of its power will be sold to neighbouring countries. The government is now trying to connect more people to the grid. Sawyer says cash from the new power plants could help pay for this.
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