hopes to produce 130 millions liters of ethanol to serve 5 percent of the
country's energy needs and sell hydroelectric power to neighboring countries.
Tegenu, the minister of energy and mines, told VOA that in the face of the
nation's fast-growing rate of energy consumption, alternative bio-fuel projects
such as ethanol can curb the growing price of oil and save hard-earned foreign
is a feasible product. First, we produce it at home from residual molasses,
which is a by-product of sugar. We are also looking into plants that are
drought resistant and can be used to produce bio-fuel."
critics say that alternative energy sources such as ethanol production have
contributed to the rising global cost of food and pose a threat to food
security in developing nations, especially those struggling with food security
and recurring droughts.
said those who wrote Ethiopia's energy policy believe these projects need to go
hand in hand with food production and can be executed without interfering with
are using land that is not useful for either for farming or grazing. We have
abundant idle land that can be used to plant drought-resistant plants like
Jatropha. Our target is not using
dams are part of the energy solution, Alemayehu says. Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, recently said that his
country is planning on importing hydroelectric power from its neighbor Ethiopia.
Ethiopia ranks second behind the Democratic Republic of Congo with a potential
of 45,000 megawatts of electric power.
a small fraction of the Ethiopia's hydroelectic power potential has been
realized. For the past several months
Ethiopia's capital suffered from two-day power rationing that plunged many
businesses and households into darkness. Alemayehu was optimistic that in the
midst of these shortages, Ethiopia is capable of exporting electric power.
"We have five hydroelectric projects undergoing
construction. To name the projects, we have Tekeze in the north with expected
300-megawatt production potential, Tana Beles with 460 megawatts, Amartineshe
with 100 megawatts and Gilgel Ghibe II with 400 megawatts. The biggest of them all, Gilgel Ghibe III,
with a production potential of 1870 megawatts, will more than provide the
energy needs of Ethiopia. That means we can export power to our neighbors."