Ethio Resource Group Commissions Ethiopia’s First Privately-Owned Wind Micro-Grid

Installation of the first wind turbine.
Installation of the first wind turbine.
Hilawe Lakew

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 31, 2017
David Kahrmann
+251-111-30-69-37

Mehal Meda, Ethiopia – On Friday, March 31, Ethio Resource Group PLC, a grantee of the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), officially commissioned Ethiopia’s first privately-owned wind-powered mini-grid at a ceremony attended by officials from the federal and woreda (district) governments as well as other key stakeholders.

Ethio Resource Group (ERG) is a recipient of the Off-Grid Energy Challenge, led by USADF in partnership with Power Africa, USAID and General Electric, which invests in energy entrepreneurs to reach communities not served by existing power grids.

Ethio Resource Group, an Ethiopian off-grid energy company, received a $100,000 grant from USADF in 2014 to build six wind-powered micro-grid systems to provide electricity services to rural households in rural North Showa Zone of the Amhara Region. The wind turbines and micro-grid systems have been operational since July 2016 and have been providing electricity services to up to 300 rural households. These micro-grids are the first commercial private sector-owned and operated renewable energy business in the country.

“The innovation of the Ethiopian private sector, combined with American support, have proven here that even the most remote customers can be reached on a commercial basis with modern electricity services,” said Tom Coogan, USADF regional director. “ERG has changed lives in this community, and there is the potential to replicate this in many other parts of the country.”

Before the wind-powered micro-grid, households purchased many liters of kerosene every week and walked as much as three to four kilometers to charge their phones. Now, they enjoy lighting at night and can charge the appliances they use such as cell phones and cassette players. In the words of one resident, the electricity is “like a sun in the night.”

ERG has already added a solar component to one of the micro-grids to meet the demand, and the company is hoping to expand this further in the future. USADF has funded more than 70 off-grid energy companies in nine countries in Africa including ten 100 percent local private companies in Ethiopia, and invested more than $7 million in Africa's energy entrepreneurs, which has already resulted in over 16,500 actual connections benefitting over 82,000 people.

To learn more about the USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge, visit www.usadf.gov/off-grid.


See also

Power Africa in Ethiopia

Last updated: April 05, 2017

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