The installation of high-voltage 400kV electric transmission lines which will help connect the power generated from Gilgel Gibe III to the national grid, will be completed by April 8, 2013, Fortune learnt.
The Chinese Export-Import (EXIM) bank has contributed 96.7 million dollars, whilst the Ethiopian government is spending 257.5 million Br, for the construction of the transmission lines.
The Gilgel Gibe III hydropower project began in 2006 with the aim of generating 1,870Mw of energy. This will be the second largest source of hydro-electric energy for the country, next to the Grand Renaissance Dam, which will generate 6,000Mw, when complete. Gilgel Gibe III will contribute toEthiopia’s power generation capacity, which the government hopes to raise to 10,000Mw, from the current 2,000Mw, during the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP) period, from 2010/11 to 2014/15.
The project is located in the lower course of the Omo River, in Wolayta and Dawro zones of the Southern region, 470Km South West of Addis Abeba. Aside from having a roller compacted dam, the project will also have three distribution stations. The transmission power lines will be completed within a month.
The construction of the transmission lines, which will carry electricity from the distributing stations, will be conducted in two lots, according to Meseker Negash, head of corporate communications at the EEPCo.
One of the lots includes the construction of a 293Km transmission line, starting from Wolayta Sodo and running to Sebeta, via Akaki. The construction of this line will cost a total of 70.8 million dollars and an additional 140.5 million Br from the government.
In the other lot, a 50.3Km and 51Km double circuit line from Gibe III to the Wolayta Sodo distribution station, will be constructed. The cost of this second line is 25.9 million in dollars, and an additional 17.2 million Br contribution from the government.
A Chinese company has been contracted for the construction of the transmission lines.
“So far 89pc of the work is done for the transmission lines and the rest will be finished within a month,” Meseker told Fortune. “Since we planned to complete the construction of the transmission lines in 18 months, we are on track.”
Though construction is completed, the transmission lines will not be functional until power is generated from the dam. The dam is to have 10 units, each producing 187Mw of power. EEPCo expects to finish the construction of one of the units by September or October this year, according to Meseker. The power generated can then be added to the National Grid through the transmission lines.
The completion of the distribution stations is also necessary, according to Meseker. There will be two new distribution stations, in Wolayta Sodo and Akaki, and an expansion project on an old distribution station in Sebeta, which cost 88.5 million dollars and 198.3 million Br in contributions from the government. Shanghai Electric Group is the contractor for the construction of the distribution stations.
Of the total power generated from Gilgel Gibe III, 900Mw will be exported to foreign countries, such as;Kenya,Sudanand Djbouti.Kenyawill get 500Mw, the largest amount of exported power.
The EEPCo had previously announced that 69pc of the dam construction has been completed.