American-Icelandic company Reykjavik Geothermal just invested $4 billion towards a massive new geothermal farm 124 miles south of the Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The deal signed on Wednesday secures three-quarters of the funding necessary to build the 1000 MW geothermal project, which is the first of its kind in the country, and paves the way to a cleaner energy future for one of Africa’s most populated countries.

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Countries in Africa’s Great Rift Valley have great geothermal energy potential. Ethiopia, which until now has relied mostly on hydropower, finally joined Kenya, Djibouti and Tanzania to tap into that resource. Its initial 500MW phase is slated for completion in 2018, and the entire farm should be fully operational by 2021.

The energy produced will be used for local consumption and exported to neighboring countries, according to the head of Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, Miret Debebe. With the potential to produce more than 3,000 MW of geothermal energy, Ethiopia boasts one of the richest geothermal sites in the world. In addition to harvesting this clean energy source to boost the nation’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025, the country has also invested in wind, solar and hydropower, and various other green projects.

+ Reykjavik Geothermal


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