ACWA Power building 250 MW solar PV in Ethiopia

Saudi Arabian generation and water desalination firm ACWA Power will build two 125-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Ethiopia within the next year.

ACWA Power won the bid during the first round of Ethiopia’s solar program under a new public-private partnership law. State-owned utility Ethiopia Electric Power (EEP) and the nation’s Ministry of Finance signed a letter of intent with ACWA earlier this month.

“It is a remarkable achievement to have been selected to deliver these projects, the first to be tendered under the new public-private partnership framework in Ethiopia,” Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power, said in a statement. “We welcome the opportunity to help the country realize its incredible renewable resource potential and deliver significant economic, social and environmental value. At ACWA Power, we firmly believe that reliable, safe delivery of power and water is the first step to developing future-ready economies, and we will be playing our part in ensuring Ethiopia and its people to unlock their full potential.”

Under the agreement, EEP and ACWA will have a long-term power purchase agreement at 2.52 cents (U.S.) per kWh for 20 years. The combined 250 MW of solar will help Ethiopia’s work to increase its overall electricity capacity from 4,300 MW currently to 17,300 MW by the end of 2020.

The new plants will be located in Dicheto, Afar region, and in Gad, Somali region. When completed and operational, the projects are estimated to create enough power for about 750,000 homes.

While these solar projects will be ACWA Power’s first venture in Ethiopia, the company already operates in Africa with solar assets in Morocco, South Africa and Egypt.

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The past, present and future of the Ethiopian energy sector will be one of the Wind and Solar Knowledge Hub sessions at POWERGEN International. Azeb Asnake, senior special adviser to the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, will speak at 1 p.m. Tuesday, November 19.

POWERGEN International is happening November 19-21 in New Orleans. The biggest U.S. annual conference on power generation will offer more than 80 sessions covering solar, wind, hydro, gas-fired, coal-fired, nuclear, digital transformation of the power plant, energy storage, centralized plant performance and microgrids. Register now.

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