13.02.2018

Ethiopia boosts access to electricity and renewable energy

Despite Ethiopia’s abundance of renewable energy, only a small proportion of its population has an electricity supply. However, this proportion is growing.

Ethiopia needs energy. The country aims to have a nationwide power supply by 2025. At present, however, only around 14 million of Ethiopia's 100 million inhabitants have access to electricity. In rural areas, in particular, very few people have an electricity supply.

Often, it is the small, decentralised projects that help the local population, such as the 20 solar panels installed outside Gebaba health centre. This mini power plant, which produces five kilowatt hours per day, provides an invaluable service for the surrounding villages: the electricity it produces is used to provide lighting in delivery rooms at night, cool vaccines and enable laboratory tests to be performed. As a result, vaccines can be stored for longer periods, and a significantly higher number of children are being vaccinated. Due to the good facilities available, an increasing number of pregnant women are now going to Gebaba to give birth. In total, more than 30,000 people now have access to better medical care thanks to the introduction of electricity at the health centre.

This electrification is part of Energising Development (EnDev), a global energy partnership for sustainable access to energy. It is financed jointly by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Netherlands, Norway, Great Britain, Switzerland and Sweden. On behalf of the EnDev energy partnership, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been supporting Ethiopia since 2006 in its efforts to improve access to a modern energy supply through better stoves, solar plants and micro hydropower plants. EnDev Ethiopia also receives funding from Ireland, South Korea and the EU.

As a result of the solar plants and micro hydropower plants, more than 200 social service institutions and four villages in rural areas now have an electricity supply. This has given more than three million people access to modern facilities with electricity. Further plants are being planned.