Surface explorations for geothermal resources in Ethiopia have begun over three decades ago. These explorations have been initially conducted at reconnaissance level in the Ethiopian rift valley which has an area of 150,000 sq Km. The Ethiopian Rift Valley is part of the East African rift system, with young volcanism, adequate recharge and reservoir rocks for the formation of economically viable geothermal systems.
The early stages of geothermal explorations have identified over sixteen areas to have geothermal resources suitable for electricity generation with a total potential of 5000 MW. Currently the number of prospects suitable for power generation has reached twenty two and the potential is estimated to be over 10,000 MW.
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Despite the countries long term geothermal exploration, the progress of development of geothermal resources has been slow. Deep drilling have been conducted only in two prospects. A pilot plant of 7.3 MW installed in 1998 at Aluto Langano is the only geothermal plant. However, since recent years the country has adopted, a renewable energy mix policy, geared towards the advancement of geothermal resources development, including other renewable energy resources. Accordingly both public sector and private sector geothermal projects are being implemented at larger scale than before.
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