Geothermal Resource Development & Licensing directorate

Main functions and responsibilities of the Directorate:-

The Geothermal Resource Development License and Administration Directorate (MRDLAD) was established at the beginning of 2017 under the Ethiopian Energy Authority in accordance with the Proclamation No 981/2016 to regulate the geothermal operations of the country and to ensure the conservation and development of the geothermal resources for the social and economic benefit and growth of the country and to be utilized including electric generation.


To see the geothermal potential of the country contribute to the economic growth by creating conducive investment environment so that making use of geothermal resource for generating       electricity by giving significant focus on development of its vast geothermal renewable energy sources to create a sustainable, green economy and contribute in establishing Ethiopia as a   leading energy exporter and East Africa regional renewable energy hub.


To encourage and facilitate both private sector and government institutions to undertake high quality geothermal exploration and development in order to bring about a meaningful and   sizable impact to the economic growth of Ethiopia through efficient effective geothermal resource promotion, licensing & administration and develop the large geothermal potential of the country and expediting the resource for base load supply not only to the national market but equally for the regional market as well.


Ensure the development of geothermal resource potential of the country by attracting private investment in the sector. Encourage and facilitate private sector to undertake geothermal exploration and development in order to bring about a meaningful and sizable impact to the economic growth of Ethiopia through efficient license administration and effective geothermal resource promotion. 

Organizational Structures of MRDLAD

The Directorate executes its objectives through the following teams and employees.




Structure Assigned

Currently Available




Executive Secretary



License and Administration Case Team



Compliance and Monitoring Case Team






License and Administration Case Team

Issues Grade I geothermal operation licenses namely Reconnaissance, Exploration and Geothermal Well-field Development and Use License and Grade II geothermal resources license to prominent investors that fulfill the requirements in accordance with Geothermal Laws. Prepare promotional materials regarding the geothermal potential of Ethiopia and conduct promotional activities to introduce the geothermal resources of the country. Issues certificate of professional competency for geothermal consultancy service, technical works and drilling permit.

Compliance and Monitoring Case Team

This case team follows up and administers reconnaissance, exploration and well-field development and use licenses which are issued by the Directorate. It also facilitates mineral samples exports,   verify and provide supporting letters for custom duties and tax free, work permit and visa requests in accordance with the Geothermal Laws. Approve, or issue permits as appropriate to drilling plans and programs, well design plans and drilling permit applications.

Geothermal Exploration Development and Opportunities in Ethiopia

The government’s Energy Policy is an integral part of its overall development policy. It aims to facilitate the development of energy resources for economical supply to consumers. It seeks to achieve the accelerated development of all available energy resources and the promotion of private investment in the production and supply of energy including geothermal resource.

Energy Regulatory Legal Framework

  •  Ethiopian Energy Authority Establishment Council of Minister Regulation No. 308/2014
  • Energy Proclamation No. 810/2013
  • Geothermal Resources Development Proclamation No. 981/2016
  • Energy Proclamation Amendment No. 1085/2018
  • Energy Regulation No. 447/2019
  • Geothermal Resource Regulation No. 453/2019
  • PPP Proclamation No. 1076/2018
  • Geothermal Proclamation Amendment No. 1204/2020

 Geothermal Law of Ethiopia

The Geothermal Resource Development Proclamation No. 981/2016 and Geothermal Resource Regulation No. 453/2019 were published in September 2016 and July 2019 respectively.  The highlights of the Proclamations are as follow:-

  • Invite private investment in geothermal operations;
  • Geothermal resource classified into Grade I which is a resource capable to generate electric power and to provide services such as direct heating and combined heat and power and Grade II which is a resource used for the purposes such as direct heating, agriculture and industrial applications, recreational bathing and medical purposes,
  • Issue Reconnaissance License for not more than 24 months, non exclusive non renewable, up to 2,000 km2area;
  • Issue Exploration License for not more than five years, exclusive with two renewals of 1 year each, up to 200 km2area;
  • Issue Well-Field Development and Use License for not more than 25 and when expires the government may continue to develop the resource as it finds feasible, up to 50 km2area and it is exclusive;
  • Requires adequate health and safety of employees and environmental protection and environmental impact study.
  • Provide exemption from customs duties and taxes on equipment, machinery, vehicles and spare parts imports as necessary for geothermal operations.


 I.  Support Services

Holders of Geothermal Operation Licenses can request & get the following support services:-

  • Letter of support for exemption from tax and customs duties
  • Letter of support to export samples of fluids, brine and other geological related resources
  • Support letter of Work Permit and visa for Expatriates
  • Letter of support "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN" related to the license activities
  • Letters to different Government organizations as may be requested

General Requirements to get  the Services:-

The Applicant:-

  •  Must be holder of active operational geothermal license,
  • Must have fulfilled all obligations required by the law e.g. Reporting, Environmental Issue, Payment, Renewal, etc
  • Must submit complete application signed by the General Manager/Holder of the License or legally authorized person,
  • form is available at the Directorate & website,

Specific Requirements for the Services 

Exemption from Tax & Customs Duties Services:-

  • Completed Application Form,
  • Commercial Invoice:
  • Airway Bill/Bill of Loading,
    • The buyer is the licensee,
    • Must have signature and stamp of the supplier,
    • Must show the price of the goods,
  • Packing List,
  • Certificate of Origin,
  • Copy of the license certificate


  • Each document except the application form and copy of the license certificate must be submitted in 4 copies.
  • Tax exemption application for equipment’s, machineries or vehicles not included in the approved work program will not be entertained.

Sample Export Service:-

  • Completed Application Form,
  • List of Samples that shows: sampling location, sample number, sample type, sample weight, etc
  • Copy of the License Certificate


  • The sample must be brought to the Directorate for inspection,
  • Sample will be sealed in a box container, after inspection, that is made available by the applicant,

Work Permit or Visa Support Service:-

  • Completed Application Form
  • Copy of employment/contract Agreement,
  • Copy of educational certificates,
  • CV of the person to whom the work permit is requested for,
  • Copy of work experience testimonials,
  • Copy of valid passport,


  • All documents needs to be verified by relevant Authority,


 Holders of Reconnaissance, Exploration and/or Well-field  Development and  Use  License  are required to comply with the Geothermal Law and terms and conditions of the license. Some of the requirements are:

  • Reporting as per Regulation (Annual, Audit, Drilling)
  • Work Program Submission,
  • License Renewal,
  • Land Rent & other Payments,
  • Record Keeping & submitting (including raw and processed data)