12 July 2015, Addis Ababa – The project was launched in 2010 with financial assistance from the Government of Japan and the World Bank.
Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiro Suzuki launched the first geothermal well drilled and successfully discharged steam as part of the Aluto Langano Geothermal Project supported by the Japanese government.
According to Japanese Embassy Press release, the project was launched in 2010 with financial assistance of the Government of Japan and the World Bank, and has been implemented jointly by the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), the Geological Survey of Ethiopia (GSE) and Japan International Cooperation System (JICS) and West Japan Engineering Consultants (West JEC).
The release indicated that drilling of the well started in November 2013, but after then, the drilling work faced a series of challenges and was suspended for 10 months.
Japanese and Ethiopian professionals worked together to address those challenges. From a technical aspect, it is the first geothermal well in Ethiopia drilled using directional drilling technology. Through the implementation, many state-of-the-art geothermal technologies were transferred from Japan to Ethiopian engineers.
In addition to the well the Minister Alemayehu and Ambassador Suzuki also visited drilling of another well launched June 25, 2015.
This important project was referred to in the Joint Communique of the Japan-Ethiopia bilateral summit meeting, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Addis Ababa in January 2014. Since then, the Japanese Government has made every effort to accelerate the project.
The successful steam discharge from the well has laid a solid foundation in order to implement the project and will contribute to the consideration of further assistance from the Government of Japan in the area of geothermal power generation.
The Great Rift Valley region is believed to have high potential for generating geothermal energy. The Government of Ethiopia is now hoping to increase its geothermal power generation capacity to 450 MW by 2020 and to 1,000MW by 2030, which the Government of Japan keen to provide assistance, the release said.