The Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo) is to export electricity to Sudan starting from October 2010. EEPCo will start the export as soon as maintenance work on Gilgel Gibe II hydropower production plant in southern Ethiopia is completed in the same month.
The corporation has signed an electricity export agreement with Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya following the heavy investments undertaken in different hydropower plants throughout the country. EEPCo’s plan is to interconnect its electricity network to several countries in the region and generate large income in foreign currency from the export of power.
Misikir Negash, Public Relations Head of EEPCo, told Capital that the local demand for power is highly increasing. This year it has grown by 25 percent in comparison to last year’s 21 percent.
According to Misikir, the policy of his corporation is to first fully satisfy the local demand and then engage into export, as local demand remains their priority.
According to sources, EEPCo is currently conducting a feasibility study on how much power should be exported to Sudan after the completion of repair works on Gilgel Gibe II which has a capacity of generating 420 megawatt. The sources add that preliminary studies show that the state-owned corporation could export over 200 megawatt per hour for 0.20 dollar per megawatt to its neighbor.
Currently the corporation commissioned two new power plants, Beles and Tekezze, in Amhara and Tigray region respectively, with a combined generating capacity of 760 megawatt. When Gilgel Gibe II starts operating again, it will add another 420 megawatt into the existing power generation capacity.
Meanwhile, EEPCo has already completed the Ethio–Sudan transmission line of 230 kilovolt interconnection project, which measures about 321 kilometer. Moreover, the Ethio–Djibouti 230 kilovolt interconnection of 280 kilometer is another project that is expected to be commissioned in the near future.
According to EEPCo’s 25-year master plan, which is currently under revision, Egypt, Yemen, Eritrea and European countries are among potential power importing countries.
The repair work on the 26 km tunnel of Gilgel Gibe II hydropower plant is expected to be fully completed by October 2010, at which time it is projected to start generating at its full capacity, vastly boosting the electricity production of the country.
Gilgel Gibe II collapsed in January 2010 within days of its official inauguration after rocks blocked the tunnel water flow. Salini Costruttori S.P.A has carried out the construction of the power plant.
The corporation in conjunction with the contractor has since then been busy executing full restoration of the tunnel.
Meanwhile in February this year, EEPCo has signed a contract with the Chinese Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) for the construction of Genale Dawa 3 Hydropower Project, located on the border of the Oromia and Somali Regional States with an outlay of 408 million dollars. It is expected to generate 254 megawatt of electric power.
The corporation is also constructing the Amerti Neshi, Gibe III, and Finchaa hydropower projects at present with a combined generating capacity of over 2,200 megawatt. Furthermore, a wind power project is under construction diversifying the sources of power generation in the country. Other hydropower and wind power projects in the pipeline are expected to generate an additional 500 megawatt.