Working Paper
Power Ahead

Meeting Ethiopia’s Energy Needs Under a Changing Climate

Ethiopia is powering ahead with an ambitious energy development strategy, highly reliant on abundant hydropower potential. A changing climate, including uncertain water supply, however, may pose a salient challenge to meeting expected targets. Bridging the modeling gaps between climate, energy, and economics, and effectively transforming climate changes into economic measures, is an emerging inter-disciplinary field as nations attempt to position themselves for an uncertain future. Such a framework is adopted here to assess energy production and adaptation costs for four climate change scenarios over 2010–49. Scenarios that favor a drying trend country-wide may lead to losses of 130–200 terawatt hours over the 40-year period, translating to adaptation costs of US$2–4 billion, compared to a no climate change scenario. Even given these potential losses, energy development utilizing hydropower appears economically reasonable from this deterministic, sector-independent evaluation. This development is desperately needed, independent of future climate change trends, with the hope of appreciably reducing vulnerability to variability.