Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ethiopia dam committee to form

Two articles on the Grand Renaissance Dam, Africa's biggest.

Egypt State Information Service (Cairo)
Egypt: Qandeel - Tripartite Committee to Evaluate Renaissance Dam
Starts Mid May28 March 2012

Irrigation Minister Hisham Qandeel said the Tripartite Committee for
evaluating Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam will starts work before mid May

Egypt will host an important meeting next week on the crisis of the
Eastern Nile countries in the light of freezing downstream countries
activities with Ethiopia after its signing of the framework agreement.

This came after Qandeel's return from a two-day visit to Addis Ababa,
during which he met his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts.

They signed an agreement that includes the nomination of the four
international experts, who will work on the study and evaluation of
the dam.

Those experts are among leading experts on dams, water science and
environment in Germany, France, England and South Africa.

In the same context, Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri received from
Qandeel a report on the results of the meetings of Eastern Nile
countries water ministers, hosted by the Ethiopian capital.

Ethiopia Plans Electricity Sales to Sudan That May Grow 12-Fold

By William Davison
March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia Electric Power Corp., the state-
owned utility, said it expects to begin electricity sales to
neighboring Sudan in May that could grow 12-fold by 2020 when a series
of dams on the Blue Nile River are completed.
Power will be exported via a World Bank-funded 230-kilovolt
transmission line, starting at 100 megawatts and increasing to 1,200
megawatts within eight years, Tesfaye Batu, a project manager at
EEPCo., said in an interview today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia�s capital.
Ethiopia also plans to ship 2,000 megawatts to Egypt by the end of the
decade, he said.
Electricity will be supplied from the under-construction Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Africa�s biggest power plant that is
expected to be completed by 2018. �The interconnection between the
three countries has already been approved by the three countries,�
Tesfaye said. A new design means the dam will have the capacity to
produce 6,000 megawatts, rather than the 5,250 megawatts originally
envisaged, Water Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said in a phone interview
Ethiopia, the world�s third-biggest coffee producer, is seeking
to diversify its economy to reduce its reliance on agriculture for 43
of total output. The country began power exports to neighboring
Djibouti in May 2010 and plans to begin shipments to Kenya by 2016.
The sales may generate as much as $300 million annually by 2015,
according to Access Capital, the Addis Ababa-based research company.

�Unrealistic Expectations�

�If power to Sudan and Egypt was sold in 2020 at the same rate as
it currently is to Djibouti, Ethiopia would earn $1.6 billion a year
from the 3,200 megawatts,� Access said in an e-mailed response to
questions today. �However, given large domestic demand needs, the
assumption that 3,200 megawatts will be exported in 2020 may be
Ethiopia�s hydropower programs rely on the �unpredictable� flow
of Nile River, which may silt up quickly because of deforestation and
could �throw an entire watershed out of ecological balance,� according
to International Rivers, the Berkeley, California-based advocacy group.
�Ethiopia�s dam boom is the wrong approach to energy development
in a climate-challenged Horn of Africa,� Africa campaigner Lori
Pottinger said in an e-mailed response to questions on Feb. 27.
It costs $1.5 million to generate a megawatt of power in Ethiopia
versus a world average of $2.5 million per megawatt, according to

Transmission Links

The plan for transmission links between Ethiopia, Sudan and
Egypt, including four 500-kilovolt links, was made by the Nile Basin
Initiative, a donor-supported body of 10 countries set up
to establish cooperative management of the river�s resources, said
Tesfaye. Although discussions over water-sharing have delayed progress
on interconnection, Ethiopia and Sudan may push
ahead, he said. �The Sudanese and Ethiopian sides are very much keen
to go for this interconnection,� said Tesfaye.
A joint committee of the three countries established to study the
Grand Renaissance dam, which is 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the
Sudanese border, began work in January,
according to the Addis Ababa-based Walta Information Center.
The $4.8 billion project is being funded �domestically,� though
bonds for the dam will be offered to citizens in neighboring
countries, Ethiopia�s Communications Minister Bereket Simon said by
phone from the capital on Feb. 27.
�This is a project that benefits every country in the region,� he
said. About 7 billion birr ($403 million) has been pledged of which 4
billion has been collected from Ethiopian sources for the plant,
according to Bereket.

Egyptian Resistance

Egypt depends on the Nile River for all of its water and
historically opposed infrastructure projects by upstream nations
during former President Hosni Mubarak�s rule, according to the
government of Ethiopia. About 80 percent of the river�s flow
originates in Ethiopia.
Egyptian Water Minister Hesham Kandilu backed development
projects on the Nile, using Ugandan hydropower projects as an example,
the Kampala-based Daily Monitor reported on Feb. 24.
Three other hydropower plants on Ethiopia�s Blue Nile with the
capacity to produce as much as 5,000 megawatts in total are planned,
Wondimu Tekle, Ethiopia�s state minister for water and energy, said in
a phone interview from the capital on Feb. 27.
Ethiopia will generate most of the low-cost electricity that will
be traded among nine countries that are expected to connect to a
regional grid by 2016, according to the Eastern Africa Power Pool, an
Addis Ababa-based body that facilitates regional integration.
The World Bank fully funded the 297-kilometer, $41.1 Sudan
interconnection project that began in December 2008, Tesfaye said.
While the transmission line constructed by Bosnia�s Energoinvest was
completed in June, the sub-station being built by Iran Power & Water
Export of Equipment & Services Co. was delayed due to problems caused
by international sanctions on the Middle Eastern country, he said.

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