DJIBOUTI, July 12 (Reuters) - Djibouti is developing one of its three major geothermal sites in the northern Lac Assal region to produce power after securing $50 million in funding from the World Bank and other financiers.
The Horn of African nation now has installed capacity of about 120 megawatts (MW) and the new plant aims to add 50-100 MW when completed.
Djama Ali Guelleh, director general of state-run Electricity of Djibouti, said at a ceremony on Wednesday to launch the project that it was going ahead after two years of studies and surveys conducted with Iceland Drilling Company.
“Acquisition of renewable and abundant energy is a top priority in the objectives of our government,” Yonis Ali Guedi, minister for energy and natural resources said.
He said the plant would help lower electricity prices and boost business, in a nation which has been building free trade zones and port facilities in its bid become an international hub for shipping and commerce.
Djibouti, which lies at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on a major international shipping route, launched a new trade zone last week covering 48 square kms.
Djibouti, which has a population of 876,000, hosts Chinese, U.S. and French naval bases. It handles roughly 95 percent of the goods imported by Ethiopia, its land-locked neighbour with 99 million people.
Reporting by Abdourahim Arteh Writing by Elias Biryabarema Editing by Edmund Blair