Ethiopia Plans to Repair Gilgel Gibe II, Start Electricity Exports This Year

Gilgel Gibe II power plant t
Gilgel Gibe II power plant t
 Gilgel Gibe II power plant t
Gilgel Gibe II power plant t

By William Davison – Bloomberg

Ethiopia will complete repairs on the 420 megawatt Gilgel Gibe II power plant this month and start exports to neighboring Djibouti, an official at the state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. said.

Transmission lines to Sudan are also “near to completion,” Mekuria Lemma, head of strategic management at the company, said in an interview yesterday in the capital, Addis Ababa.

EEPCo said on July 12 that it would repair a collapsed tunnel at Gilgel that month and begin exports in September. Addis Ababa has suffered intermittent power cuts this year as demand grows and EEPCo builds transmission lines from the new 300 megawatt Tekeze and 460 megawatt Tana Beles power plants. Those lines will be completed next year, Mekuria said.

By March 2013, another power line should be completed to Kenya, in time for the scheduled opening of the 1,870 megawatt Gibe III project later that year, Mekuria said. The amount exported will depend on the size of the surplus.

A new five-year national growth plan aims to quadruple power generation to at least 8,000 megawatts and expand electricity coverage to 75 percent of the population from 41 percent. This needs $11 billion of investment, Mekuria said. New hydropower plants, supplemented by wind and geothermal projects, will mean supply matches a projected annual demand increase of 32 percent, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.