Ethiopia has signed a 220-million-euro (=300 million dollar) deal with a French company for the construction of Africa’s largest wind farm. This contract was signed by representatives of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPC) in agreement with the French wind turbine manufacturer Vergnet.

This ambitious farm is expected to produce 120 megawatts within two and half years, making it the largest project of it’s kind on the continent. This is a forward thinking project for the country as it faces great troubles from energy dependency and the effects of global warming. Ethiopia has been hit time and again by droughts, devastating the peoples of their country as well as crippling its electricity production, which is currently heavily reliant on hydroelectric dams.

“This is a very strategic project for us. The first (largest) in Africa for wind energy production with 120 megawatts, that is to say 15 percent of our present capacity,” EEPC chairman Meheret Debebe said. “This project will help us to fill the gap of hydrological risks we are facing in Ethiopia with the droughts.”

Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the horn of Africa with no access to the ocean. It is also Africa’s second most populous country and has been experiencing severe drought coupled with frequent power cuts in recent months. Already a dry, demanding and harsh landscape, Ethiopia is early in the field of geographical areas suffering as a result of the effects of global warming. Drought is considered to be a side effect of the overall warming of the planet just as the melting of the Arctic is.

“This contract is a very important one because with a budget in excess of 200 million euros it will be the largest wind farm in Africa,” French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac said at the signing ceremony. “It is also very symbolic of France’s commitment to developing renewable energies,” she added. Bravo, France! And God bless the people of Africa.

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