Friday, July 16, 2010

Ethiopia Plans Power Exports to Sudan After Rains Boost Dams

Ethiopia Plans Power Exports to Sudan After Rains Boost Dams

By William Davison
(c) 2010 Bloomberg News
Thursday, July 15, 2010; 12:00 AM

Supplies to Sudan will total about 200 megawatts, while 150 megawatts
may also be sold to Djibouti should there be sufficient supplies, said
Mekuria Lemma, head of strategic management and programming at the
state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Corp.

Gilgel Gibe II, which halted production in January following a tunnel
collapse, is expected to resume output by the end of July. Production
at Tana Beles, the country's largest plant, and Tekeze is also
expected to be at full capacity following recent rains. The three
plants produce a combined 1,180 megawatts of power.

"We have lots of water in all our reservoirs," Mekuria said in an
interview on July 12 in the capital, Addis Ababa. "We are in a good
position now."

Ethiopia has Africa's second-biggest potential hydropower capacity of
45,000 megawatts, according to the World Bank. Congo has the largest.
Rainfall in Ethiopia was average or above average in April and May in
most parts of the country, according to the National Meteorological
Agency. In June, when the main rainy season starts, average or above
average precipitation was recorded in central and western areas, it
said yesterday.

Kenya is in talks with Ethiopia to import 500 megawatts of electricity
and a feasibility study has been completed on a transmission line to
the East African country, Mekuria said.

The African Development Bank provided a $1 million loan for the design
of the line, which is expected to be built by 2014, Solomon Asfaw, an
Ethiopia-based energy specialist at the bank, said in an interview.

In addition, the bank is co-funding the construction of a 283-
kilometer (176-mile) 230 kilovolt transmission line from the eastern
Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa to Djibouti. The network, which will be
able to supply 260 megawatts of power, will be completed within two
months, Solomon said.

Ethiopia's current generating capacity is about 2,000 megawatts,
including the 420 megawatts from Gilgel Gibe II, EEPCO spokesman
Misiker Negash said in an interview. There are plans to increase that
to 8,000 megawatts, Mekuria said.

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