Five international energy firms are bidding to construct a 100MW solar energy power plant in Metehara, town, 223km east of Addis Ababa.
As part of the government’s ambition to build a climate resilient green economy, the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) is geared towards developing renewable energy resources including wind, solar and geothermal. Accordingly, EEP is set to build the first large scale solar power plant in the Oromiya Regional State, Metehara town-a small town in the rift valley known for its scorching sun and sugar cane plantations.
In May 2016, EEP invited global energy firms to submit their proposals for the construction of a 100MW solar power generation plant. The tender was closed in February 2017. Five global energy firms have submitted their technical and financial proposals.
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures B.V. (FRV), Meridiam-Solairedirect Consortium, Enel Green Power S.p.A., The Building Energy S.P.A. Consortium, and CCE Oasis Technology Corporation are the five companies that submitted proposals to EEP.
Mekuria Lemma, Strategy and Investment Director with EEP, told The Reporter that the bidding committee has evaluated the technical and financial proposals. “The technical proposals have been approved. The financial proposals will be approved soon,” Mekuria said. The winning company would be notified within one month.
Mekuria told The Reporter that EEP got good offers from the bidding companies. “When we see the financial offers we are encouraged to buy more electric power from the private sector. We are in good shape,” Mekuria said.
The winning company will seize power purchasing agreement (PPA) with the EEP. The company will develop the solar power plant, generate and sell the electric power to EEP.
The state owned power utility company is the sole government organ that builds power plants and generates electric power. However, two years ago, the Ethiopian parliament has enacted a power purchasing law that allows the private sector to participate in power generation. Private energy firms now can build power plants (hydro, wind, solar and geothermal) and sell the electric power to EEP.
To scale up the solar project EEP is also planning to build two additional solar plants in the Afar and Somali reginal states. Each solar power plant has the capacity to generate 150MW of electric power.
EEP which is working with IFC and AfDB also plans to build two solar generation plants in Mekelle and Humera towns.
At the end of the second growth and transformation plan (GTPII) EEP plans to build a total of five solar energy plants with an aggregate generation capacity of 800MW.
The country’s installed generation capacity has reached 4,280MW-92 percent hydro, 6 percent wind and 2 percent thermal. When EPRDF’s led government seize power in May 1991 the country’s total generation capacity was only 370 MW.
American and UK companies have shown keen interests in developing renewable energies in Ethiopia.