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The Government of Ethiopia and Reykjavik Geothermal (RG) have agreed to build and operate up to 1 GW of geothermal power in two 500 MW phases. RG, a U.S.-Icelandic geothermal development company, notes that it has been working with the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. and various government ministries for the past two years to finalize the power purchase agreement.

RG says the first 500 MW plant will be built inside the Corbetti Caldera. The first 10 MW of power will be online in 2015, with an additional 100 MW in 2016 and the full 500 MW operational by 2018, the company adds.

"Africa needs to transform, and energy is at the center of that transformation," says Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister of Ethiopia. "My vision is that over the next 30 years, we will need to harness as much as 80,000 MW of hydro, geothermal, wind and solar power, not just for Ethiopia, but for our neighboring countries as well. This cannot be done by public investment alone; we will need to partner with the private sector to bring in significant private investment going forward. From that perspective, this 1,000 MW project with RG is not that large - but it's a great start. What Africa needs now is not just aid, but trade and investment."

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