Heat from the earth: Toshiba and Toyota win geothermal deal in Ethiopia

Toshiba and Toyota have joined with Turkish company Egesim Energy in a deal with the Ethiopian government to further develop the African country’s vast geothermal energy potential in its Rift Valley.

Toshiba Energy Systems announced that its joint venture with Toyota Tsusho Corporation and the Turkish engineer had signed an EPC contract to build the 5MW Aluto Langano Geothermal Wellhead Power System in central Ethiopia. 

The project, which is being developed by the Ethiopian Electric Power, is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Toshiba will be in charge of supplying the steam turbine and the generator. The turbine is designed to produce between 1MW and 20MW of electricity from a small number of wells.

Toyoaki Fujita, business development executive at Toshiba, said: "We are extremely proud to receive this facilities order, which is our first in Ethiopia for a power plant. We signed a memorandum of understanding on a comprehensive partnership in geothermal power with EEP in September 2014."

He added that the company had been training Ethiopian managers and technicians in Japan, and that Toshiba hoped to make further contributions in the future to the development of geothermal power in the country.

Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation after Nigeria, with a population of 105 million. Although it is growing economically, from a GDP of $12.5bn in 2005 to $84.4bn in 2018, further progress depends on increasing its electrification rate, which presently stands at 30%.

The country possesses an estimated 10GW of potential geothermal energy and it is planning to develop roughly 2.5GW of this by the year 2030.

Image: Lake Chamo in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley (Bernard Gagnon/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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