The wind farm was conceived of after a report revealed Ethiopia’s vast potential for wind energy generation, amounting to a possible 1.3 million MW of wind energy primarily focused in the north and south of the nation. The Ashegoda Wind Farm is located in the north of Ethiopia, over 450 miles north of Addis Ababa.
Ashegoda is the second wind farm in the nation, and has been operating in a limited capacity for almost two years. The official opening last Saturday was in honor of the plant reaching full capacity.
At present, Ethiopia is plagued by constant blackouts and a near complete dependence on hydropower for energy. The government is enacting a plan to address both these concerns. Ethiopia currently has a capacity of 2,000 MW, and hopes to increase this to 10,000 MW within three to five years.
The centerpiece of this plan is the 6,000 MW Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, under construction on the Nile. When complete, this dam will be one of the largest dams and hydropower plants in the world. However, construction has resulted in tensions with Ethiopia’s neighboring co-riparians, namely Egypt.
In recognition of the dangers of over-reliance on hydropower and the political struggles that arise from tapping into the potential of the Nile, Ethiopia has also looked to diversify its energy generation sources. Wind and geothermal are the two alternative sources. These sources also have the benefit of rendering Ethiopia’s energy infrastructure more climate resistant. As it currently stands, a drought could seriously harm Ethiopia’s generation capacity. Wind and geothermal, on the other hand, would continue without issue.