The Tekeze hydroelectric power project, which was fully funded by the Ethiopian government, was officially inaugurated on Saturday. The project has begun generating 75 MW electric power same day.Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia inaugurated the project in the presence of senior government officials, diplomats and invited guests.
A minute of silence was observed for those , who lost their lives during construction of the project.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Premier said the project is historical as lives are sacrificed and the full cost covered by the government.
Meles expressed condolence to the workers, who lost their lives during the construction of the project.
He expressed his gratitude to Chinese and USA companies for their contribution to the realization of the project.
The project, which consumed nearly four billion Birr, is expected to generate 300 MW electric power upon going fully operational.
More than 4,500 workers took part in the constriction of the project. Some 750 of them are foreigners.
The project is believed to contribute in the ongoing efforts to speed up development in the country and will narrow the gap between supply and demand.
Mines and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu on his part said the power generation projects being constructed at present are environment friendly.
Chief of Tigary State, Tsegay Berehe on his part said the project has changed the history of Tekeze that had been flowing for years.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), Mihret Debebe also said the project will generate one third of the country’s power supply.
He said Tekeze II that can generate 600 MW will be constructed within ten years.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Gu Xiaojie on his part said the project signifies the level of cooperation between Ethiopia and China.
U.S. Chargé d’ Affaires in Ethiopia Ambassador Roger Meece on his part said the project is the biggest chapter in Ethiopia’s effort to address the ever growing energy demand.
The ambassador lauded Ethiopia’s commitment towards development of renewable energy resources.
He expressed delight over participation of his country in the construction of the project, which is the first of its kind in Africa.
Senior government officials, ambassadors and invited guests attended the inaugural ceremony, according to ENA’s spot reporter.