Ethiopia - Renewable Power

Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, and the second-most populous nation on the African continent, after Nigeria.

The Ethiopian Highlands are Africa’s largest continuous mountain range. Ethiopia is often referred to as the “water tower” of Africa because of its abundant water resources, the greatest in the whole of Africa. More than 30 rivers originate in the Great Plateau, 14 major rivers pour off the high tableland. It also has the greatest water reserves in Africa. Among the numerous lakes, Lake Tana in the north is the source of the Blue Nile.

Area surrounding HPP Beles

According to the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF), at one time Ethiopia had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but despite this it contends with poorness. The economy faces a number of serious problems, which are addressed with a focused investment in public infrastructure and industrial parks. The economy’s progress is high­ly dependent on the development of the nations’ hydro resources. Only 25% of the population has access to electricity today and the government plans to increase this up to 75% within the next five years.

Ethiopia has the second largest hydropower potential in Africa, with only 10% developed to date but nonetheless covering 90% of the nation’s electricity demand. Currently, installed capacity is about 4,330 MW of hydro, but more than 6,600 MW are under construction. By 2020, about 14,000 MW could be in operation. Besides hydro, also geothermal energy and wind are going to be intensively developped.

Already supplying power to the neighboring countries of Djibouti and Sudan, Ethiopia has further ambitious plans to connect East Africa with Southern Africa via a powerful transmission line. The first step is a 500 kV transmission line to Kenya and further agreements with Somali have been signed and negotiations with Tanzania completed.


ANDRITZ HYDRO’s activities in Ethi­­o­pia reach back into the 1960s, when the company was in­volved in generator deliveries for HPP Awash I and II. Over the years ANDRITZ HYDRO has delivered equip­ment for several major hydro­power plants, delivering a quarter of the country’s hydro capacity. Projects like Gigel Gibe or Beles are important references.


Population99.39 Mio.
Access to electricity25 %
Installed hydro capacity4,330 MW
Hydro capacity under construction6,600 MW
Share of generation from hydropower90 %
Hydro generation11,000 GWh
Technically feasible hydro generation potential     260,000 GWh
Installed capacity  1,004 MW
Installed units18
Fleet share23.19 %
The World Bank, IEA, World Energy Outlook, Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2016

Author: Martin Koubek

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