Work is due to begin in September on two large-scale geothermal projects in Ethiopia that may eventually produce 1GW of electricity at a cost of $4.4bn.
The Corbetti and Tulu Moye projects, which are being developed by Reykjavik Geothermal (RG), may each produce up to 500MW of electricity, making them the largest independent power projects in Africa.
Gunnar Orn Gunnarsson, RG’s chief operating officer, told the Bloomberg news organisation: "All the results from the surface exploration work indicate that we are developing projects in a huge caldera, huge active volcanoes which can sustain at least 1,000 megawatts or more."
The first stage of the scheme will aim to build 50-to-65MW project at a joint cost of about $350m. , The finance for this work has already been arranges, and RG will take a minority equity stake in both. Talks are presently under way between RG and the Ethiopian government to agree terms for the drilling.
Other shareholders include Africa Renewable Energy Fund, Iceland Drilling and Paris-based investor Meridiam.
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Image: Lake Chamo in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley (Bernard Gagnon/CC BY-SA 3.0)