18 December 2016

Ethiopia: Gibe III - a Breakthrough Towards Regional Powerhouse

Photo: Addis Fortune
Hydropower projects in Ethiopia.

The eco-friendly hydro-plant is expected to raise regional power interconnection

The boundary and trans-boundry rivers of Ethiopia flowed downstream devoid of serving the nation to the extent they should. Estimates indicate that the nation has 45, 000 MW exploitable hydro-power energy source.

Gilgel Gibe III Hydro-power Plant, which was officially inaugurated yesterday, stands as a living monument proving that the huge potential would light the rural and urban areas of the nation and beyond.

The 1,870-MW hydro-plant between Wolaita and Dawero Zones in SNNP State, 450-kms south-west of Addis, consumed 1.5 billion Euro -- of which 40 percent was financed by the government and the remaining in loan from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Inaugurating the dam, the tallest in the world, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn indicated apart from feeding the growing energy need of the country, it would also boost hard currency earning exporting energy to neighboring countries.

The construction of the dam, undertaken by Salini Impregilo of Italy and Dong Fang of China, faced challenges along the process. In this regard, the Premier said Gibe III is now successfully completed after tackling various challenges, adding: "We will never stop producing renewable energy for a second."

Noting that the nation's fast tracking economy demands more energy, the premier said the government would aggressively work to raise the generation capacity to 15, 000 MW by the end of GTP II.

Prime Minister Hailemariam also said the dam project is eco-friendly and allows downstream regulated flow all the year round. In addition, inhabitants would benefit from fishery and the accompanying infrastructural facilities undertaken in the area, according to the premier.

Ethiopian Electric Power CEO and Gibe III Manager Eng. Azeb Asnake also highlighted the completion of the grandiose project increases power supply both for domestic and neighboring countries. "It will boost regional economic integration."

It is also a manifestation of the country's tangible commitment to attain green development endeavour, as she pointed out.

Eng. Azeb elaborated that two distribution centers and 400kv transmission lines each measuring 300-kms have been installed to supply the power to the national grid.

Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan expressed conviction that the Gibe III would open window of opportunity for citizens creating various jobs.

The Ambassador also praised the government's political determination in bringing the mega project to completion.

La Yifan noted the current power generation capacity would attract more investors from China, Italy, UK, India and Turkey in the manufacturing sector.

Gibe III, whose construction was commenced in July 2006, raises the national generation capacity to 5,000 MW, it was learnt.

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