Currently, Ethiopia is among the fastest growing countries in the world, and this holistic development, in turn, demands adequate electricity to sustain the pace of the economic growth.
The power demand of Ethiopia has been growing at an alarming rate and the main objective of the energy sector during the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) is increasing national energy generation, transmission and distribution capacity to fully satisfy domestic energy demand with production surplus ready for export market.
Therefore, the country has been hugely engaged in the construction and expansion of various energy power generating projects to feed adequate and reliable electricity for businesses and households.
Mega energy projects have been constructed under the first GTP period including the iconic national project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In addition, Gibe III hydro project was officially inaugurated and successfully commenced operation thereby supplying the grid. In due course of time, the work on 500 KV (Kilo volt) Ethio-Kenya interconnection transmission line and the 400 KV Genale Dawa III- Yirgalem- Welayeta Sodo transmission line have undertaken in a good progress. Information obtained from the 2016/17 annual bulletin of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) indicated that currently the total existing generation capacity of the nation has reached 4,238 MW (Megawatt) of electricity per annum.
What is more, Ethiopia has doing its level best on nurturing the regional power integration and beyond. In this regard, Djibouti and Sudan interconnected with Ethiopia via electricity and consolidated efforts are underway to complete the Ethio-Kenya interconnection transmission line per schedule.
According to EEP External and Public Relations Director, Misker Negash Ethiopia targeted to carry out numerous power projects including generation of 17,561 MW of electricity during the second Growth and Transformation Plan period (2015/16-2019/20 fiscal year).
In the next section attempt has been made to glimpse some of Ethiopia's power generation projects.
A. Hydro power projects
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (6,450 MW)
Work on the project was launched in 2011 with a massive mobilization of the people and government of Ethiopia. At 6,450 MW, the GERD is the eighth biggest Dam in the world and the first in Africa. Currently the total construction of the Dam project has reached 63 percent.
Misker noted that besides satisfying the local demand, the GERD also manifested country's desire to connect the East African region through electricity. The government has given top priority to the project, which would be an engine to the industrialization of the country. "A collaborative project of the public and the government, the Dam is of immense use to the growth of the economy," he added.
Gibe III Hydropower Project (1,870 MW)
Gibe III Hydro Power Project is located at the boundary of Wolayta and Dawuro Zones, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' State (SNNPs ) some 450 km south-west of Addis Ababa and it is the second largest hydro power project in the country and among the tallest Roller Compact Concrete (RCC) Dam in the world with a height of 246 meters. The Project has 10 units each having 187 MW of generation capacity with a total installed capacity of 1,870 MW. Currently the Project has launched generation of power estimated about 800 MW and enabled bridging the gap which was caused by El-nino. More than 7,000 Ethiopian professionals have participated on the construction work and knowledge and hi-tech know-how transfer are believed gains for the professionals.
Genale Dawa III Hydro Power Project (254 MW)
This Project is located at the boundary of Guji and Bale Zones, in Oromia State some 650 km south-east of the capital Addis Ababa. Finishing works on the Dam, excavating the water tunnel and civil works on the power house are among the main activities which have been carried out this year. According to the bulletin, 60 percent of the 451 million USD project is financed through 'Chinese Exim Bank' and the balance was covered by the government of Ethiopia.
The civil engineering and the electro-mechanical as well the hydro mechanical schemes of the project are handled by the Chinese Construction and Engineering Company - CGGC (China Gezhouba Group Corporation) and the consultative service is provided by MWH, an American firm in partnership with local companies. Upon completion, the Dam is expected to generate 254 MW of electricity and as of January 2018, the overall work on the project reached over 94 percent.
Aba Samuel Hydro Power Project (6.6 MW)
The historical and pioneer Aba Samuel Hydro Power Plant is located in Finfine area of Oromia State, some 27 km from Addis Ababa. It was built in 1941 by the support of Italian government. Aba Samuel was out of service since 1975 due to long service with nil rehabilitation. But the Plant relaunches power generation since November 2016 after two years rehabilitation work. The Project has four generation units comprises one large generation unit with a capacity of 3.15 MW and three small units each having a generation capacity of 1.15 MW. The overall performance of the Project was reached over 96 percent in the reported period.
B. Wind farm power generation projects
Most of Ethiopia's existing power plants are from hydro, this in turn, has an adverse effect during the occurrence of drought. As a result, the government has made efforts to curb the challenge and continues construction of power projects from hydro, wind, geothermal as well as solar. Due to the steady efforts, it is enabled to generate 324 and 7 megawatts of electricity from wind and geothermal sources in the 2016/17 fiscal year. Hydro power, however, has retained its leading position and the country made 3,930 megawatts of electricity from water in the stated period.
Aysha II Wind Farm Project (120 MW)
Misker stated that the construction of the Aysha II Wind Farm Project was commenced in June 2017 in Shenelle Zone of the Ethiopian Somali State some 465 km north-east of Addis Ababa. It is among the newly additions of the existing power generating plants ever built in Ethiopia. It is the fourth wind farm plant that has been undertaken in Ethiopia next to the 51 MW Adama I, the 120 MW Ashegoda and the 153 MW Adama II wind power plants. The project is planned to generate an installed capacity of 120 MW. The construction of the wind farm project has been undertaken by the China-based Dong-fang Electric International Company and the consultative work is being carried out by the Ethiopian Electric Engineering Department of the EEP so that creating favorable situation to transfer ample knowledge and hi-tech know-how for Ethiopia. 85 percent of the 257. 2 million USD project is financed by China's Exim Bank and the rest covered by the government of Ethiopia. It was indicated that the wind farm is scheduled to be implemented in mid-2019.
C. Geothermal power generation projects
Ethiopia has an immense potential of geothermal energy related to other East African Rift Valley countries. The bulletin stated that geothermal exploration in Ethiopia which began as early as 1969, has identified 22 fields within the Ethiopian Rift Valley.
Aluto Geothermal Power Plant Extension Project (70 MW)
The project is located at Adami Tulu Woreda of Oromia State and the filed has been explored in detail and tested through the development and operation of a seven-mega power plant in 1998 and at present produce a 3 MW of electric power. Based on surface exploration information, the Geothermal- Sector Development Project (GSDP) is conservatively planning to install a 70 MW power plant in two phases from Aluto.
Melka Sedi Thermal Power Project (137.5 MW)
Melka Sedi Thermal Power Project is a biomass fired steam power plant project located in the Afar State with the capacity of 137.5 MW. The fuel sources for the thermal power plant at the site are Prosopis Juliflora, bagasse from the nearby sugar factories. According to EEP's annual performance bulletin, the government of Ethiopia gives direction to Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) to construct the thermal power plant and agreement was recached between METEC and EEP for the construction of the Melka Sedi Thermal Power Project in June 2014. The performance of the project has reached over 27 percent in the beginning of 2018.
D. Waste to Energy projects
Reppie Waste- to- Energy Facility
The Project is located at south-west of Addis Ababa, at a place the city's dry wastes being dumped. The plant site covers about seven hectares of land and work on the project commenced in 2013. The 120 million USD project is totally financed by the government of Ethiopia and would be Africa's major waste-to-energy facility and expected to consume 1,400 tonnes of metropolis' waste a day and_could produce 50 MW of electricity. The development, design and construction of the project is conducted by a UK-based Cambridge Industries Ltd and its partner China National Electric Engineering Company. The overall work on the project has reached over 96 percent in the January 2018.
E. Power transmission lines and substation projects
Ethio-Kenya 500 Kv Regional Interconnection
Ethio- Kenya 500 kv high voltage transmission line, which would have a total length of 1,045 km has been carried out steadily. Out of the total length, 612 km would be constructed by the government of Kenya and the rest would be handled by the Ethiopian government. Work on the project was executed in three lots. The total performance of the project was over 46 percent in August 2017.
Gibe III - Addis Ababa Transmission Line Project
he 400 kv Gibe III- Addis Ababa Transmission Line Project with a total length of 450 km has stretched from Gibe III hydro power plant to Addis Ababa. Upon completion, the project would have significant role in enabling inhabitants of the metropolis reliable access of electricity. The project was over 18 percent completed in the aformentioned period.
Genale Dawa III - Yirgalem -Wolayita Sodo 400 kv high voltage power transmission line
The 372 km project is stretched from Genale Dawa III hydro power project to Yirgalem substation and to its final destination Wolayta Soddo. The contractor of the project is Norrinco International Company of China including deployment of local companies as sub-contractors to induce the capacity of domestic firms. The total cost of the project is 5.8 million Birr of the total, 83 percent is financed by a loan from China Exim Bank and the rest was provided by the government of Ethiopia. Upon completion, the substation would be crucial in enabling the inhabitants of Hawassa, Yirgalem and Dilla towns to enjoy sufficient electricity. The overall performance of the project was reached over 81 during the end of the past Ethiopian budget year. Meanwhile, the Ethio-Djibouti railway transmission line project which aimed at inducing import -export trade, was successfully completed in the previous fiscal year. Furthermore, several high voltage transmission projects including Awash-Melka Sedi and Mekele-Semera as well as Wolqayt and Bels power transmission lines are in various levels of construction.
Bearing the stated facts in mind, the Ethiopian government should give utmost priority to consolidate the implementation of the Climate Resilient Green Economy initiative to ensure sustainable and environmentally friendly economic growth. Moreover, consolidated efforts are expected from all actors in the sector to enhance cross-border power interconnection with neighboring countries to bolster Ethiopia's power exports and foster regional economic integration.