Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Ethiopia is one of a minority of African countries possessing geothermal potential. Considerable resources of both high- and low-enthalpy geothermal have been located in the Ethiopian Rift Valley and in the Afar depression. Exploration that began in 1969 has, to date, revealed a potential that could possibly generate more than 1 000 MWe of electricity.
In mid-1998 the 7.23 MWe Aluto-Langano geothermal plant became operational. It became the first geothermal power plant in Africa to use integrated steam and binary power technology. The plant has experienced operational difficulties, owing to problems with field and plant management skills, but it is hoped that in time these can be overcome.
In addition to the Aluto-Langano geothermal field, the other areas that have been explored are Corbetti and Abaya in the Lakes District, Tulu-Moya, Gedemsa, Dofan, Fantale, Meteka, Teo, Danab in the Southern Afar region and Tendaho and Dallol in the Central Afar region. The exploratory investigations are at different stages of development, ranging from advanced exploration to reconnaissance. Three deep and three shallow exploratory wells have been drilled at Tendaho, four of which are productive.
The country is heavily dependent on petroleum fuels for transport and some electricity generation, biomass for household cooking and lighting and an erratic hydro supply for the remaining electricity generation. If the financial difficulties that research often experiences can be solved, Ethiopia's geothermal potential could certainly assist in providing base-load electricity generation.