Ethiopia: a new era for energy sees the light thanks to EGP

Published Wednesday, 8 August 2018

“We’re proudly investing in Ethiopia to address its energy needs through our know-how in renewables, as we play a pivotal role in the country’s development while supporting local communities with our sustainability-inspired initiatives.”

– Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of Enel Green Power

Renewable energy is the linchpin for Ethiopia’s sustainable growth: while the country boasts one of Africa’s most dynamic economies, its electrification rates rank among the lowest in the continent, a testament to Ethiopia’s stark contrasts.

No more in the dark

While Ethiopia’s population is a tad over 100 million, almost 60% of it still doesn’t have access to electricity

While the Ethiopian government has recently pressed forward in leaps and bounds with an electrification program, rural zones and remote areas of the country still face daily blackouts.

This is ordinary news at St. Luke’s hospital in Wolisso, built in 2000 by the Italian NGO “Medici con l’Africa Cuamm”.

Wolisso is a town with a population of 40,000, located 120 km southwest of Addis Abeba and St.Luke’s is one of the very few local hospitals while being a center of excellence for the country’s health service: its catchment area amounts to 430,000 people and the hospital accounts yearly for 93,000 visits, 11,500 hospitalizations and almost 3,300 assisted births, of which 40% come with complications.

The hospital is trying to tackle these power outages by using two diesel generators with a 100 kW output each, although they’re unable to operate at peak efficiency and are totally unsustainable, both for the hospital and the surrounding environment. Adding to the list of grievances, diesel generators are unable to protect medical machinery from potentially hazardous brownouts and blackouts.

This consideration spurred our joint effort with Cuamm, as we’ve opted to  set up at St.Luke's an innovative hybrid PV-battery system capable of generating 160 kW (200/320 kWh) and managing in real time the energy flow powering the hospital. This system, currently under construction and ready to go on-line by August, will guarantee considerable savings for the hospital that will be reinvested for medical purposes to the benefit of the whole community.

This set-up will allow diesel generators to be used only as a backup of last resort, to the benefit of the environment and the hospital’s check books. 

“Vaccines and essential medicines need a constant energy supply which unfortunately can’t be provided by the grid network. The solution we’ve devised with Enel Green Power calls for a Photovoltaic grid and an energy storage system working in sync to provide some much needed relief for many children and their mothers waiting for medical treatment and vaccines.”

– Don Dante Carraro, director of Medici con l'Africa Cuamm

What is about to be accomplished in Wolisso is part of the sustainable development goals set by the UN in its 2030 Agenda. Enel has formally pledged to commit on 4 SDGs:  affordable and clean energy, quality education, decent work and economic growth and climate action.

These are the goals which EGP has embedded in its business strategy, striving to reach a truly sustainable development while protecting the environment and the communities where it operates.