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Ethiopia to launch Gibe III hydroelectric power project
By Tesfu Telahoun
Capable of generating 1870 megawatts when completed in seven years, the Gibe III hydroelectric power project is to be officially launched with a ceremony on January 24, 2008, at which a foundation stone will be lain. Gibe III is situated on the Omo River, 500 kms south of Addis Ababa, Welayta -Dawro Zone, SNNPS region.
The project ranks as the largest ever undertaking in the nation with an outlay of ETB 16 bln ( $ 1.75 bln). Funding has been secured from international lending agencies. Construction work is to be carried out by Italian firm Salini Constructtori S.A. which has considerable experience of large projects in Ethiopia. It is to be recalled that Salini conducted works on Gilgel Gibe I and II and is currently engaged on Beles, another hydroelectric generation scheme.
Currently, the nation generates less than 900 MW of electric power, making the addition of 1870 M.W. by the ten generators of Gilgel Gibe III alone, a quantum leap in national power generation capacity. It is envisioned that Gibe III will enable Ethiopia to export power to neighboring states.
It is also anticipated that the massive earthworks required for the building of the dam will contribute to the development of the immediate surroundings.
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