New Ethiopia dams to create power surplus

December 29th, 2008 | by addis portal |

ADDIS ABABA, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Ethiopia will have an extra 1,155 MW of electricity in 2009 and intends to export the surplus to its neighbours once three new hydropower projects are complete, an official of the state-owned utility said.

Ethiopia plans to sell electricity to Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya, said Sendeku Araya, head of information at Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO).

The Horn of Africa country generates some 800 MW from another four dams for domestic consumption, but that is not enough to meet growing demand from the 80 million strong population.

“Ethiopia will have excess power for export by 2009 when construction of Tekeze dam with a capacity of 300 MW, Gelligle Gibe II with capacity of 420 MW and Belese dam with a capacity of 435 MW is completed,” Sendeku said.

The country has started work on a $45.2 million transmission line to export some of the excess electricity to Sudan.

“Installation of a 230 kilovolt transmission line which would enable Ethiopia to export its excess electricity to Sudan was launched this month,” Sendeku said.

“The excess electricity exported to Sudan is expected to generate $7 million revenue a month when it is completed within 18 months time,” he said.

The transmission line begins at Ethiopia’s northern lakeside city of Bahr Dar and extends to the border with Sudan, he said.

Two companies have won tenders to install the 297 km (185 miles) transmission line and to upgrade existing substations to handle the additional power.

EEPCO signed agreements with Bosnia’s Energoinvest for the 230 kilovolt line and Sunir, an Iranian company, to reinforce existing substations in northern Ethiopia, Sendeku said.

A separate power connection project is under discussion under the Nile Basin Initiative. It envisages exports of 1,200 MW and 2,000 MW to Sudan and Egypt respectively.

A 263 km cable to supply 40 MW to the Red Sea state of Djibouti is already under construction and is expected to cost $62 million.

The Ethio-Kenya project is still in the bid preparation stage, he said.

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