EEP Begins Selling Electric Power to Data Miners in Foreign Currency

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) has collected more than two million US dollars in electricity bills from the first two active data mining companies.

The government authorized data mining in 2022, which has reportedly made Ethiopia the leading destination for Bitcoin miners looking for low power costs.

In a statement Wednesday, the EEP disclosed that it has already entered a power supply agreement with 25 data miners that fulfilled various requirements including an investment license.

The agreement allows the state-owned power-generating firm to sell the electricity to the data miners in foreign exchange.

To date, four data miners have started operating with the EEP supplying them with electric energy ranging from 10 to 100 megawatts, according to EEP. Data miners use computers that consume large amounts of electricity to compete and solve complex algorithms.

Hiwot Eshetu, Marketing and Business Development Director at EEP, said two data miners paid more than 2 million US Dollars, having started their operations first.

The other two active data miners will begin paying their electricity bills as of next month, Hiwot added.

Per EEP, five data miners are currently in the process of developing their infrastructure while 10 others will soon begin developing their own.

The remaining three investors have not made any steps, and have been issued with a warning to begin their project immediately, according to EEP.

Currently, Ethiopian Electric Power is not entertaining new power supply requests from investors keen to engage in data mining.

The temporary suspension will stay in place until EEP conducts a power consumption assessment after the demand for all licensed data miners is met, according to the Director.

The move comes a week after Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH) signed a preliminary deal to develop infrastructure for data mining and artificial intelligence training operations

Ethiopia has a 5,249 MW of installed generation capacity, reaching 60% of its 120 million people. EEP, which generates 90% of the capacity from hydropower, currently operates 22 interconnected generation plants.

Authorities pin a high hope on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to fill in the power deficit and boost the economy. The Dam, which has a projected installed capacity of 5,150 MW, is currently 94 percent complete.