Promoting Sustainable Technologies to Meet Ethiopia’s Growing Energy Needs

Oct 1, 2015

Addis Ababa, 1 October 2015 (joint press release) - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have partnered with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) to help the country tackle its energy needs give its large and growing population and the need to provide energy to support economic growth and transformation targets.

GEF is providing US$4.1 million financial support, channeled and managed by  UNDP, to support  Ethiopia to  roll out and implement activities  that will enhance economic and environmental benefits to the citizens and moreover remove bottlenecks in the way of the country adopting and scaling-up the use of rural energy technologies. Through these and other initiatives, Ethiopia seeks to become a renewable energy hub of excellence in East Africa.  

This new project on Promoting Sustainable Rural Energy Technologies (RETs) for Household and Productive Uses will scale up the use of small-scale energy efficient technologies, for example fuel-wood efficient improved cook-stoves and solar home systems, by rural households and rural enterprises.

The intervention seeks to accelerate the adoption of Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) by targeting major institutional and financial constraints that make it difficult for innovators and energy technology firms to produce, source and market these technologies to end users at affordable prices.  It will do so through:

·         Strengthening regulatory and legal framework based on national standards;

·         Business incubator that will promote greater entrepreneurship for investment in RETs; and

·         Helping rural households access sustainable financial mechanism for RETs, such as through access to micro-financing, by partnering with UNCDF clean start initiative.

The project will also help to create awareness about existing RET and their use and thereby creating demand and utilization of these RET.

A special focus will also be given to the productive sector by funding the rollout of solar water pumps to replace diesel pumps used for irrigation and water supply. This intervention is important given that in Ethiopia agriculture accounts for about 75% of employment and 40% of the country’s GDP.

Around 89% of Ethiopia’s current energy consumption mostly comes from biomass energy sources, such as fire wood and charcoal and this contributes towards the country’s energy sector Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. In order to capture major carbon abatement potential, Ethiopia will need to have more than 18 million household switch to efficient cook-stoves.

The CO2 emissions from forest degradation, primarily to meet demands for fuel wood consumption and logging in excess of the natural yield of the forests, is largely caused by the energy needs of  the country’s growing population; Ethiopia is currently the second most populous country in Africa and has a largely young demographic.


Projections also indicate that unless action is taken to change the traditional development path, about nine million ha of forested land will be deforested between 2010 and 2030. Over the same period, the annual fuel wood consumption will also rise due to increasing population and household demand for fuel wood – leading to further forest degradation.


According to H.E.  State Minister Wondimu Tekle of MoWIE, “Unless the majority of Ethiopians receive the right and adequate supply of energy especially from renewable sources, it is very difficult to bring about sustainable economic development in the country”.


Ethiopia’s national development plan, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), highlights the country’s need for an aggressive energy strategy to meet rising energy needs as the country propels itself towards a middle income status by 2025.


Ethiopia’s ambition to reach a middle income status is complemented by its desire to have carbon neutral economy. Therefore, the GTP and the country’s  Climate Resilient Green Growth (CRGE) strategy looks towards a strategy that promotes renewable energy, and in particular towards increasing the use of small scale renewable energy technologies as well as expanding the use of  improved cook stoves at the  household level. The energy strategy plays a leading role in ensuring that renewable energy technologies are rolled out and adopted across the country. .


By 2019, this new project is expected to help create more jobs within the private sector, especially among small and medium enterprises, through the promotion of production, importation, marketing and use of small-scale solar technologies and improved cook stoves by a 28.4% and 24.8% respectively.


This intervention will also help to increase access to renewable energy by the poor and reduce household indoor air pollution. The initiative is also expected to help reduce deforestation and desertification, as well as complementing national efforts to conserve biodiversity and reduce soil erosion. The lives of women and girls, especially school going children,  will greatly benefit from this project that will expand the use of these technologies, which in turn will help cut back on the time they spent collecting fuel wood.

Contact information

Martha Mogus                                      
Communication Specialist 

Christian Hofer
Senior Communications Officer

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