State electricity company Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) is considering an ambitious proposal for the construction of a 300 MW wind farm in eastern Ethiopia near the Djibouti border, the English-language business weekly Capital Ethiopia reports.

The so-called Ayisha Wind Power Project is a planned joint venture of foreign and Ethiopian companies led by Dr Peer Ederer of Germany, director of the Human Capital Center at the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based think tank, and scientific director of the European Food and Agribusiness Seminar. It has an estimated cost of $600 million, to be covered by a combination of funding from the African Development Bank and private capital. The idea is to use local skills and resources as much as possible and to this end three local Ethiopian firms and engineering students at Mekele, Bahir Dar, Adama and Addis Ababa universities are expected to participate in the technical and technological aspects of the project. If all goes to plan, the wind farm could be developed within three years and Ederer says there are also plans to establish a wind turbine production industry in Ethiopia under the auspices of the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ).

EEPCo is currently developing a 120 MW wind power project in the Ashegoda area in the northern Tigray state and has plans for other smaller projects in other parts of the country. Until now Ethiopia has relied on hydropower to meet its energy needs but following a rapid increase in demand in recent years this has proved to be inadequate.