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Optimizing green power sector planning in Ethiopia

27. October 2022

Solution provider

Ea Energy Analyses

Ea’s scope of work comprises analyses of energy systems from a technical, economic and environmental approach, as well as analyses of energy and climate policy measures. Our analyses focus on new production technologies as well as savings and adaption of the energy consumption to a more intelligent energy system.

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Good green solutions require good planning. Wind and solar power are getting cheaper and cheaper, but the varying nature of the generation requires some adaptation. Integrating wind and solar power into power systems requires the right tools.  

Good integration of wind and solar power into the energy system can make the difference between a problematic and a success story. 

Planners must ask questions like:  

  • How much wind and solar is optimal under different assumptions about fuel prices and policy goals? 
  • Where to locate the plants? 
  • How to balance the varying generation? 
  • In Ethiopia: What is the role of hydro power in the green transition?


Ea Energy Analyses is assisting Governments and power companies around the world with use of the Balmorel model. The Balmorel model is a power sector model that can analyse large power systems. Optimal dispatch of plants and least-cost investment in both generation and transmission can be computed. Scenarios for possible future development for the next 10 to 30 years can be compared. The model works with hourly time resolution, which is crucial in relation to variable renewable energy like wind and solar power.  

The model is open source and is used in Denmark, the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, all of Europe, Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and Eastern Africa. 

In an analysis of the best power expansion possibilities in East Africa, the wind and solar resources were described with detailed data (wind speed and solar irradiation) for 50 potential sites in Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. 

Several scenarios were analysed, e.g. a least-cost scenario with no policy restrictions, a high fuel scenario, high CO2 price, delayed wind and solar expansion, as well as high and low interest rate. 


The results indicate that the best business cases for wind and solar was in Sudan and Kenya – because of good wind resources and because of higher electricity costs in those countries.  

Ethiopia, on the other hand, will have an important role in balancing the varying wind and solar generation. Optimal flow on the transmission lines between the countries is clearly determined by the generation from wind and solar power. 

The analyses highlighted the importance of dynamic trade: The wind and solar generation in the countries vary, and may give incentive to a power flow to the North (from cheap to expensive power) in one hour, while a few hours later the direction may be opposite.