Djibouti plans to spend $19.6 million over the next two years exploring for geothermal-power sources as the Horn of Africa nation seeks to address an electricity shortage, Energy Minister Ahmed Fouad Ay said.
The project will be funded by the Global Environment Facility, an independent organization that provides grants to developing countries, as well as the World Bank and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Ay told reporters yesterday in Djibouti City, the capital. Drilling is expected to be completed by 2013, while the country intends to develop a 56- megawatt geothermal power plant by 2018, he said.
“The commissioning of a geothermal power-plant will help Djibouti switch to green energy in less than a decade,” Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh Moussa said at the briefing.
Djibouti, which hosts about 2,500 U.S. military personnel at the Camp Lemonnier military base, has a $982 million economy with fewer than 1 million people. The country relies on oil imports to produce all of its electricity. While Djibouti has the capacity to generate 98.8 megawatts, ageing infrastructure has reduced effective production to 57 megawatts, according to the African Development Bank’s website.
Peak power demand in Djibouti is about 75 megawatts and this figure may increase to 138 megawatts by 2015 and 219 megawatts by 2035, according to the bank. The electricity network covers only 50 percent of the country, it said.
Djibouti began importing power from neighboring Ethiopia in May after the construction of a transmission line connecting the two countries.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mohamed Osman Farah in Djibouti City via Nairobi at email@example.com.