Job: Director Project Development – Geothermal, Ethiopia

Project site for the Corbetti Geothermal project, Ethiopia (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 1 Aug 2017

The developer of the Corbetti geothermal project in Ethiopia is seeking to hire for the position of Director of Project Development based in Addis Ababa/ Ethiopia.

The developer of the Corbetti geothermal project in Ethiopia is seeking to hire for the position of Director of Project Development based in Addis Ababa/ Ethiopia.

The contract is for a minimum of three years reporting directly to the CEO and Board with the office location in Addis Ababa.

Company Background

CGC is owned by Corbetti Holdco, (Holdco) a Mauritius company. The principal shareholder of Holdco is Berkeley Energy (BE) through an investment vehicle called Rift Valley Geothermal Holdco. There are two other partners: Reykjavik Geothermal (a geothermal resource developer) and Icelandic Drilling Company (a specialized geothermal drilling company).

Corbetti Geothermal Plc (CGC) is developing a geothermal power project (Project) in Central Ethiopia near Lake Hawassa with a resource potential and contracted offtake for up to 500 MW. The Project is being developed as a conventional non-recourse project finance transaction (an IPP). Terms of the Power Purchase Agreement with Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and an Implementation Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia are essentially complete. They are expected to be signed in quarter 2, 2017.

The Project is planned to be done in phases. Phase I is a “proof of concept”, all equity, project supported by 3 to 5 geothermal wells with an electrical generating capacity of 10 MW. Phase II is planned to be 50 MW; will be incorporated with Phase I; and will be all debt. Successful completion of the initial two phases will create a foundation for expanding the Project to 500 MW in multiple additional phases with a total estimated cost of $2 billion. Separate debt and equity fundraising will be required for each phase.

The debt associated with financing is expected to come from Development Finance Institutions. The philosophy of CGC shareholders, CGC management and the DFIs dictate that the highest international standards for all aspects of the project will be followed.

Corbetti Geothermal Power Project – Phase II+

Director of Project Development Responsibilities:

The Project Director will initially have significant responsibility for developing Phase II of the Project culminating in successfully obtaining project finance debt for Phase II. The Project Director will also be responsible for subsequent phases of the Project. The selected person will need to work closely with the Director of Geothermal Sciences, the Finance Director, and the Director of Construction. Berkeley Energy will retain overall responsibility for the financing and support it with certain personnel.

Reporting to the CEO while coordinating closely with Berkeley Energy, the Project Director will:

  • Lead the development team
  • Recruit and hire new development managers as necessary
  • Delegate various tasks and manage the development managers

Share responsibility for the pro-forma financial model with Berkeley Energy:

  • Coordinate with CGC’s Director of Finance
  • Update on a real-time basis with current cost/budget and financing cost
  • Run sensitivities
  • Seek structures and strategies to optimize returns while allocating risk to third parties
  • Prepare an EPC contract for tender in cooperation with the Owner’s Engineer.

Work on an EPCM for Phase I of the Project may also be required:

  • Determine scope
  • Undertake preliminary design
  • Lead commercial evaluation
  • Negotiate contract
  • Undertake due diligence on the selected equipment
  • Develop and maintain relationship with key stakeholders including: utility customer, lenders, contractors, equipment & service providers, Owner’s Engineer, shareholders, co-investors, bank’s engineer, government officials, and regulator
  • Lead the ESIA preparation for project phases in development
  • Obtain necessary licenses & permits
  • Lead the Interconnection Study

Participate in obtaining any necessary amendments to the PPA to facilitate Phase II debt financing:

  • Prepare an O&M strategy and budget
  • Maintain daily contact with debt financing parties, do sensitivities, update with current cost/budget and financing cost
  • Prepare the Project Information Memorandum
  • Obtain project insurance coverage
  • Publish reports and bulletins on a timely basis to meet various statutory & regulatory needs and lenders’ needs
  • Regularly interact with the Phase I construction team, geothermal team, finance department
  • Proactively and timely highlight key issues & concerns along with probable solutions / options

Education, experience & general requirements

Geothermal experience is not essential but when one of the factors. It will be essential that you have lived and worked in developing countries and it is not mandatory to have to be sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia will have its challenges for an expat.

It would be beneficial if your background included the following:

  • Minimum 10 years of relevant experience in the following:
  • Project development AND financing work with an IPP
  • Thermal power plant experience
  • Geothermal experience
  • Engineering or advanced business degree
  • Experience developing IPPs or other large, complex, project financed, infrastructure projects
  • Some additional exposure to geothermal power drilling would be ideal
  • Strong leadership and excellent communication skills are a requisite. If you cannot write a report in the English language without serious mistakes, do not apply
  • The candidate should have good negotiation, motivation and communication skills and be able to coach, mentor, and encourage people
  • Ability to build (or audit) a complex financial model
  • Proficient in English (essential)
  • Knowledge of Amharic is desirable
  • Sub-Sahara Africa or Middle East working experience will be an advantage

Application process

To apply for this position, send your CV and cover letter highlighting your relevant skills and experience to

After screening, all pre-qualified candidates will undergo telephonic/skype interviews and shortlisted candidates will undergo face-to-face interviews in London & Nairobi.

Reference, qualification, and criminal record checks will be completed in detail before appointment.

Source: Shaw Energy