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Renewable Energy Options for a Developing Country: The Case of Ethiopia

Wolde-Ghiorgis, W.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Addis Ababa University

P.O. Box 385 (University), P.O. Box 30814 (Private), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

January 2002, e-mail: wolde-ghiorgis@telecom.net.et


The paper presents a critical appraisal of renewable energy options for Ethiopian modern energy technologies for rural communities. The uses of renewable energy technologies (RETs) are specifically considered in terms of the availability of plentiful renewable energy resources in wind power, hydropower and solar energy. The strategic distributions of these three key renewable energy resources are emphasized in terms of their advantages in regions with limited penetrations of modern fuels. However, by comparison with other developing countries, the current absences of RETs, and the general lack of commitment and vigour for their uses in the rural areas of the country is shown to be lack of an appropriate policy for rural energy development, a fully-fledged institutional framework, a competent technical capacity and financing sources. Still, the inevitable introduction of RETs into the country, although greatly delayed, is demonstrated to be the best option for modernizing rural economic structures and practices. The presentation further demonstrates that the three key renewable energy options can sustainably be developed if the experiences accumulated elsewhere are carefully selected and introduced.

KEY WORDS: Renewable energy sources and technologies; modern energy services; rural areas; Ethiopia



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