Djibouti is highly dependent on imported energy and lacks fossil fuels, but has promising potential with respect to renewable energy. Several feasibility studies have demonstrated that the country is home to a huge amount of renewable resources, including wind, solar and geothermal. Djibouti plans to attain energy independence by 2020 through the use of its renewable resources, aiming to become the first African country that uses 100% clean energy.

Djibouti has adopted a National Strategy and Action Plan for the development of the renewable energy sector with the assistance of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP). Given its lack of capital and experience, the government has recognized the importance of the private sector’s role and has encouraged private sector actors to invest in renewable energy, among other areas. Several comittees have been established, including the 2013 Energy Business Dialogue hosted in Djibouti, in order to lay out the current situation in the sector in Djibouti as well as to invite foreign investors to consider the country.

Djibouti has been blessed with renewable resources, solar and wind in addition to geothermal power. Given this, the country could easily meet its electricity demand in the long term by ensuring its energy independence with renewables.

Currently, energy production is based on thermal power with four diesel power stations across the country. In addition, total electricity consumption reached 108 MW in 2014 and is expected to grow by 4.5% annually over the next decade. Djibouti already imports two-third of its electricity from neighboring Ethiopia. The power trading volumes are currently limited to a capacity of 70 MW, but Djibouti and Ethiopia are focusing on new opportunities to improve electricity access within the region and reduce energy costs. A new interconnector project has been announced which will have the capacity to import up to 70 MW and construction is expected to begin in the near future. The project will represent a significant part of Djibouti’s energy strategy for the future based on renewable energy. After its completion, expected in 2018, the two interconnections will reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels by meeting more than half of its power demand.

2014 2020 2025
Interconnection 1 70 MW 70 MW 70 MW
Interconnection 2 - 70 MW 70 MW
Total Supply of Interconnections 70 MW 140 MW 140 MW
Total Demand (Estimated) 108 MW 264 MW 323 MW

Electricité de Djibouti – EDD

Geothermal Energy

Djibouti’s strategy for 2020 focuses on developing the geothermal sector by using its own resources and reducing the country’s dependency on imported fossil fuels. The country’s large geothermal reserves have a remarkable potential, representing around 1000 MW of potential energy. In the coming years, the Djibouti government hopes to benefit from the potential available within the country. It has established a Ministry of Energy for Natural Resources (MERN) and the Djibouti Office for Geothermal Energy Development (ODDEG). Currently, the ODDEG is the sole dedicated authority dealing with geothermal-related projects. It is working with other countries and international organizations with the aim of developing sustainable geothermal energy in Djibouti.

Although geothermal explorations around the Assal field have been carried out on several occiasions over the last 40 years, the latest pre-feasibility report produced by Reykjavik Energy Invest (REI) in 2008 is now the main source of reference. The Icelandic company began constructing a geothermal power plant around Lake Assal with an expected capacity of about 100 MW which was to be ready by 2025. However, it was unable to continue its operations due to the financial hardships. When the contract with REI expired, the project was continued by the Djibouti government. However, the country lacks both the know-how and capital to complete the project.

Djibouti aims to attract more foreign investment in the renewable sector in 2015 and beyond. In accordance with its strategy, the government has been implementing a plan in order to liberalize its production of energy by allowing private sector investment.

The feasibility study for the project is expected to be finished by 2016. After its completion, the project will be followed by the construction of a geothermal power station with an installed capacity of 50 MW. It will be contracted to an independent power producer, chosen through a competitive international bidding process. The second phase of the project, which aims to increase the capacity to 100 MW, will thus further bolster capacity. The project will help the country to meet almost all of its electricity demand. More than half of the population still does not have access to electricity. Geothermal energy will be a major solution to this.

Geothermal Power Plant 2014 2020 2025
1st Section - 50 MW 50 MW
2nd Section - - 50 MW
Total Supply - 50 MW 100 MW
Total Demand (Estimated) 108 MW 264 MW 323 MW

Electricité de Djibouti – EDD

Aside from the Assal field project, more potential geothermal sites have been investigated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), including Lake Abbe and Lake Goubet. The studies have shown that there are 13 sites with high a potential for geothermal energy and these could be brought into production in the future. Indeed, Djibouti has been blessed with renewable resources, solar and wind in addition to geothermal power. Given this, the country could easily meet its electricity demand in the long term by ensuring its energy independence with renewables.

Djibouti aims to attract more foreign investment in the renewable sector in 2015 and beyond. In accordance with its strategy, the government has been implementing a plan in order to to liberalize its production of energy by allowing private sector investment. In June 2013, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Qatar Petroleum International (QPI), which has included the construction of a wind power plant in Goubet. The results of a number of explorations have shown that the region has good conditions for a 60 MW wind power plant, which could supply 20% of the country’s energy demand. Djibouti has also signed an agreement with a Spanish company, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), to build a solar power plant with an initial capacity of 50 MW in Ali Sabieh. The contract grants FRV permission to develop Djibouti’s first solar project.

Project Energy Contract
Lake Assal 50 MW (1st Section) Geothermal EDD
Lake Assal 50 MW,(2nd Section) Geothermal EDD
Ali Sabieh 50 MW Solar Fotowatio Renewable Ventures
Lake Assal 60 MW Wind Qatar Petroleum International
2nd Interconnection 70 MW Hydropower (Imported) EDD & EEPCO

Electricité de Djibouti – EDD