Home | News    Sunday 18 July 2010

Ethiopia power exports to Sudan begins soon – Officials

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 17, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia says it will begin selling hydropower-generated electricity to neighboring Sudan starting next September drawing the East African nation closer to its dream of exporting electricity across the region.

Ethiopia’s Tekeze Hydropower project (AP)

According to Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo) officials, some three power plants including Gilgel Gibe II, which is under repair after tunnel collapse in January, are expected to run in full capacity at the end of the current rainy season.

The three plants collectively generate 1,180 megawatts of power enabling the country to begin power exports. “We have lots of water in all our reservoirs,” Mekuria Lemma, corporation head of strategic management and programming said in an interview.

“We are in a good position now,” he said.

“Supplies to Sudan will total about 200 megawatts, while 150 megawatts may also be sold to Djibouti should there be sufficient supplies” Mekuria said.

Ethiopia has initial agreements to export 200 megawatts to Sudan, 500 megawatts to Kenya and 200 megawatts to Djibouti when the massive multi-Billion dollar power-plant constructions went into completion. It will also consider a 26-kilometre undersea transmission line for exporting electricity to Yemen via Djibouti.

Studies indicate that Ethiopia has a potential to generate up to 45,000 MW of electric energy. It has however generated only 3.5 percent of it so far.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation General Manager, Meheret Debebe, and Public Relations Manager Sendeku Araya, said exporting the "white oil" had equal priority as electrifying the nation by 2015.

Ethiopia has plans to boost its power generating capacity to 10,000 megawatts in the upcoming years from its current capacity which stands at 2,000 megawatts.

(ST)

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