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Following many years of talk of the potential possessed by the country to generate power using wind, and three years after the signing of the contract for the 120MW Ashegoda Wind Farm, located 23km outside Mekelle Town, Tigray Regional State, the first wind turbine was erected in Ethiopia, two weeks ago, by Vergnet, the French company that is constructing the wind farm using twin blade tiltable downwind turbines.

The installation for the generation of the first 30MW is to be completed by July 2011, while the remaining is scheduled for completion by 2013, 36 months after the commencement of the installation, according to the agreement between the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) and Vergnet. Seen in the picture, the nacelle of the first wind turbine, weighing around 75tn, is transported to the wind farm on November 27, after being assembled in the workshop adjacent to the site.

In an exclusive interview, Marc Vergnet, CEO and founder of the company, explains the intricacies of generating wind power and the technology used by the company that allows the turbines to be lowered to the ground and tied down in case of storms or cyclones. “Wind barrel is cheaper than oil barrel,” he joked to emphasise his point about the viability of the energy.



First wind power generation to start in six month


Vergnet, a French company, is installing the first wind farm, which will have the capacity to generate 120MW of electricity, in Ashegoda, located 20km from Mekelle, Tigray Regional State. Marc Vergnet, CEO and founder of the company, and Pierre Pesnel, director of Commercial Sales, sat down with HAILU TEKLEHAIMANOT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, two weeks after the company finished the construction of its first one megawatt turbine, and discussed why wind farms are viable for a country like Ethiopia, as well as the rationale behind the technology they are using. READ THE INTERVIEW



Change in Ethiopian Work Conditions Not Flying with Employees

A letter written by the management of Ethiopian Airlines to all cabin crewmembers notifying them of a change in the working conditions and compensation scheme has created resentments among employees.


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Suspected Illegal Phone Operators Cost Gov’t 16.2m Br

The Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (FEAC) charged 15 individuals with running illegal international phone calling businesses, on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, after investigating them for the past three months.


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Boreh Eyes Djiboutian Presidency

Abdourahman Boreh, Djibouti’s prominent businessman-cum-politician, announced his candidacy for the top political position in the country, last week.


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Askallukan Four Gte 4.5 Years

The criminal case of Askallukan Trading Plc came to an end when each of the four defendants were sentenced to four and half years imprisonment, fined 5,000 Br, and had their civil rights suspended for two years by the Sixth Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, December 22, 2010.


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Tax Auth. Expanding HQ at 31m Br

The Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) is to expand its headquarters to include two six-storey blocks, each resting on 625sqm, being constructed at a projected cost of around 31 million Br on a plot bordering its existing one.


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Clothes Smuggler Gets Seven Years

A truck driver, who was charged with smuggling an estimated 1.5 million Br worth of contraband clothing from Djibouti, to seven years imprisonment and a 257,300 Br fine, on December 14, 2010, by a regional high curt in Afar State.


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TAF Joins Tough Competition in Oil Market

Following the construction of three fuel stations by TAF Oil Plc, a new entrant to the petroleum business, the local company is set to start distributing petroleum and petroleum by-products in about two months.


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Kisheba Lands Man Max Jail Sentence 

A resident of Wolenchiti Town accused of kisheba, siphoning the weight or volume of exported and imported items and selling the stolen goods, was sentenced by the Arada Federal First Instance Court, Fifth Criminal Bench, to 25 years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Br, on Monday, December 20, 2010.


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E-Filing to Come Online in January

As of January 2011, the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority’s (ERCA) electronic filing (eFiling) project will allow taxpayers to file their tax statements online and make payments to the authority through bank transfers.


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Discrepancies Confound Bookkeepers

Auditors and accountants complained that they are at a loss for what to do with the discrepancies created in books when the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) charges their clients more in tax than what they claim to have paid for the goods they import, in what is commonly known as under invoicing.


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Brehan’s First-Year Loss Lower Than Other Newcomer banks

A newcomer to the banking industry, Berhan International Bank (BIB) declared a 5.9 million Br loss after its first nine months of operations; it amounts to half and one third of the loss incurred by Zemen Bank and Oromia International Bank (OIB), respectively, during their first nine months.


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Lion Ups Net Interest, Noninterest Income 

While private banks’ aggregate net interest income showed a three per cent contraction, Lion International Bank (LIB) managed to increase it by 71.4pc, which brings it to 36.7 million Br in the 2009/10 fiscal year from 21.4 million Br during the previous year. The performance of the bank was disclosed at the annual general shareholders’ meeting held at the Sheraton Addis a little over a week ago. 


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Tana Engineering Plc still waiting for Official Letter Awarding Contract

The bid for the drilling of 26 water wells of 500 metres, which was floated by the Addis Abeba Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA), has been awarded to two Chinese and one local company.


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City to Serve Seven Rapid Bus Routes by 2013

Addis Abeba is to gain seven new dedicated bus transit routes at a total cost of 680 million Br funded by the Addis Abeba City Administration; Anbessa City Bus Enterprise; and  Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a French development agency; the first of which is to be implemented as of mid-2011.


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Bishoftu Farmers Demonstrate for Higher Rent

Farmers who have been renting out their land to companies growing flowers around Bishoftu, have voiced dissatisfaction with the price and held demonstrations to try to convince them to increase the previously agreed upon price...


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Befriending Other Side of Tracks for Security, Progress

Last week was the first visit by Allan E. Goodman (PhD) to Addis Abeba where he participated in a two-day forum between 22 Ethiopian universities and 10 of their US counterparts. It was the first such academic conference focused on partnership.

The US could be the largest home for international students; of the little over three million worldwide, over three per cent study in American colleges and universities. However, Ethiopian students are of the most underrepresented and number three times less than those of Kenya, which sent over 4,000 students in 2009.  

The conference was an opportunity to “increase the number” of students going to and coming from the US in the future, according to Goodman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Institute of International Education, the largest nongovernmental organisation (NGO) running international student exchange programmes in the US.

“I want to see numbers increase both ways,” he told TAMRAT G. GIORGIS, MANAGING EDITOR, during a brief interview at the Sheraton Addis. “It is just not enough for Americans to know that in their classroom there is a student from Ethiopia. I need to get them to have an experience here that helps them understand that we share this world.”


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