Roundup: Djibouti moves closer to energy independence with geothermal development

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Djibouti, a country with a population of less than 1 million people, hopes to achieve energy independence using geothermal power that will enable its citizens to enjoy abundant, cheap and accessible energy across the entire national territory.

Energy Minister Ali Yacoub Mahamoud recently noted that the government, in conformity to the vision of President Ismail Omar Guelleh, will make Djibouti the first African country to use 100 percent green energy by the year 2020.

"To achieve this, we have put in place a clear process and defined the priorities. Today, the priority for our program to develop green energy is geothermal," the minister told Xinhua.

He said given Djibouti's geothermal potential which is estimated to be 1,000 MW, the country had decided to accelerate the development of the sector together with its partners and the private sector.

"The project will result into a 10 percent reduction in energy costs and will enable Djibouti Electricity Company to be saving 57 million U.S. dollars per year," the minister affirmed.

In November last year, the Djibouti government created the Djiboutian Office for Development of Geothermal Energy (ODDEG) charged with the responsibility identifying geothermal resources in the country and execute feasibility studies as well as exploration activities.

It will equally be charged with the responsibility of mobilizing all the skills and resources needed by the country to develop geothermal energy.

"With ODDEG, which was created following the Kenyan model, Djibouti has an agency that is exclusively charged with the responsibility of developing geothermal energy to exploit its geothermal resources and end energy deficit," Mahamoud said.

The minister said besides running its geothermal program, Djibouti was also learning about the development of solar energy which is abundant in the country.

He highlighted some of the projects that are currently under way or have been completed such as the 60MW wind project that was funded by Qatar, a solar project for production of 50MW that will be funded by a private Spanish firm as well as a 10MW project that was funded through Madar City.

In addition, the minister said the government plans to construct a second power interconnection line from Ethiopia to add to the first that was constructed in 2011.

Finally, Mahamoud said the Djibouti government had adopted a policy to reduce power tariff, something that will benefit at least 70,000 poor households that could initially not access electricity. Endi

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