Home | News    Thursday 9 September 2010

Energy review saves Ethiopia 96m US dollars, says Word Bank

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 8, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – The World Bank’s (WB) International Development Association (IDA) has said that funded electricity project in Ethiopia is saving the country’s rural household’s money and energy.

The energy crisis that hit Ethiopia in 2008 and 2009 has forced the government there to review the energy sector. This has led to a transformation in the approach to energy, including a switch from kerosene-fueled lighting to energy efficient light bulbs known as Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL).

In a statement seen by Sudan Tribune, the WB said that the initiative has helped relieve pressure from the country’s electricity supply grid and is saving millions of dollars. The newly introduced power approach has helped save Ethiopia an estimated US$96 million.

“The turnaround we are seeing in Ethiopia is encouraging,” says Luiz Maurer, a Senior Energy Specialist at the WB in Addis Ababa. “Not only is this lighting brighter, cleaner and more efficient, it is now affordable to the poorest people.’’

Recently the Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo) announced that it will begin exporting power to Sudan in October 2010.Government officials are taking a more entrepreneurial approach to energy - every MegaWatt hour saved can be exported.

The corporation has signed an electricity export agreement with Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya following the massive multi-billion investments undertaken in different hydropower plants throughout the country.

An IDA financed transmission line will soon enable Ethiopia export clean hydro energy and generate foreign reserves for the country.

According to the World Bank, worldwide, 1.6 billion people still use kerosene to light their homes. In East Africa, 90 percent of rural households use the costly fuel, which is considered hazardous to human and environmental health.

Through the initiative–supported by the IDA and managed by its Africa Energy Unit (AFTEG) —the Ethiopian Government designed a comprehensive demand-side program that included the installation of capacitors and street lighting.

REDUCING ENERGY DEMAND

The Ethiopian government also distributed 5 million CFLs free to consumers in exchange for their incandescent bulbs, creating energy savings of 75 percent. The distribution coincided with a government-run awareness campaign called “Save Energy,” which highlighted the benefits of saving energy at home and work.

Local Addis Ababa resident Tsigereda Habtemariam replaced five bulbs in her home with CFLs, “They provide better lighting, create a pleasant feeling and the bill decreases from month to month,” she said.

Within three months of launching the initiative, with half the bulbs distributed, EEPCo have succeeded in reducing peak demand by 80 percent. Generating this energy using emergency diesel generators would have cost the country an estimated US$100 million, according to Maurer. The cost of the CFL distribution amounted to just US$4 million.

(ST)