Ethiopia Sees Nationwide Power Cuts While Drought Dries Dams
By William Davison : Bloomberg
Ethiopia may face further power shortages because of low water levels at dams after a poor rainy season, an official said, following two days of sporadic cuts caused by technical faults at hydropower plants.
Unspecified issues at a substation serving Oromia region’s Gibe 1 and 2 plants, which together can produce as much as 604 megawatts, and a shutdown at the 320-megawatt Tana Beles installation in Amhara state, caused the outages on Nov. 28-29, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy spokesman Bezuneh Tolcha said Monday by phone.
The drought affecting the east of the country that’s left 8.2 million Ethiopians in need of food aid wasn’t related to the outages, though that may change in the coming months unless there’s non-seasonal rainfall, he said.
“There has been a shortage of rain all over country,” he said from the capital, Addis Ababa. “The dams have not collected as much water as they can collect.”
Growth in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation and largest coffee producer, was 8.7 percent last year and may be 8.1 percent this fiscal year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The drought threatens to crimp economic expansion in a country where 39 percent of output stems from agriculture, about 90 percent of which relies on rain.
The 300-megawatt capacity Tekeze Hydropower Project in the drought-affected Tigray region is producing only 10 megawatts, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was cited as saying in an interview with The Reporter, an Addis Ababa-based newspaper, published on Nov. 28.
Two months after the end of the main rainy season, there are severe water shortages at the country’s oldest dam at Koka on the Awash River, which can generate 42 megawatts, and the 153-megawatt Melka Wakena on the Wabe Shabelle in east Oromia, Hailemariam said.
Over 94 percent of Ethiopia’s electricity was generated by hydropower in the last quarter of the fiscal year that ended July 7, and production increased 3.5 percent to 2,300 gigawatt hours compared with the year before, according to central bank data. The first two turbines from the 1,870-megawatt Gibe III plant have started producing power, Bezuneh said, without giving details.
The construction of Africa’s largest power station, the 6,000-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is scheduled for completion in mid-2017 and it may annually produce as much as 15,860 gigawatt-hours of electricity
Ethiopia eyes extra 12,000 MW in power projects by 2020
ADDIS ABABA, June 8
By Aaron Maasho
Reuters - Ethiopia plans to launch hydropower dams and other renewable energy projects over the five years to 2020 that will add an additional 12,000 megawatts of electricity upon completion, a senior official said on Monday.
With one of the continent's fastest-growing economies, Ethiopia wants to become a manufacturing hub and Africa's top energy exporter by tapping the numerous rivers that cascade through its highlands. Experts say the Horn of Africa nation has the potential to generate 45,000 megawatts of hydropower.
Under a 2010-2015 development blueprint, the Growth and Transformation Plan 1 (GTP 1), Ethiopia started work on the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam and planned to complete the $1.8 billion Gilgel Gibe 3. Together the dams will boost generating capacity from 2,400 megawatts now to more than 10,000 megawatts upon completion.
Under a new 2015-2020 plan, or GTP 2, that is due to be endorsed by parliament in September, projects generating 12,000 megawatts will be added, Azeb Asnake, Chief Executive of state-run Ethiopian Electric Power, told Reuters.
"For this ambitious plan, the idea is to finance at least 50 percent by our own coffers, by the Ethiopian government, and the rest from different sources," she said of the projects slated to be launched by 2020.
Ethiopia's total energy plans could cost the country up to $25 billion, Azeb said.
"They could be grants, soft loans and commercial loans from foreign banks, governments and the like," she said.
Mega dams supplying up to 2,000 megawatts each set up on several main rivers and tributaries including the Omo and the Nile are part of the plan, according to official documents obtained by Reuters.
Solar, wind and geothermal projects are also planned.
Ethiopia said in 2011 it planned to launch projects to raise generating capacity to 20,000 megawatts by 2020. GTP 1 and GTP 2 will put the country slightly ahead of that target, once the projects are completed.
The government says its priority is to satisfy domestic needs but given demand still remains insignificant, a large amount of electricity produced will end up being exported.
Addis Ababa already sells a small amount of power to neighbours Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti. It has signed memorandums of understanding with South Sudan, Tanzania and Rwanda, while an underwater power link with Yemen is also in the pipeline.
Once Ethiopia's grand plans are complete, it wants to export power to countries in North and southern Africa and beyond.
"We have sufficient resources to power a very large part of Africa," Azeb said.
Other major African producers such as South Africa and Egypt boast generation capacity of about 42,000 MW and 34,000 MW, though their actual production is lower as many plants are old and need to be temporarily closed for maintenance.
(Editing by Drazen Jorgic and David Clarke)
Gilgel Gibe III, Ethiopia’s Largest Hydro Plant to Produce Power This Year
(Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia’s government plans to start generating electricity from its largest hydropower plant, Gibe III, in the second half of the year if annual rains sufficiently fill its reservoir, Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said.
The wet season from June through August should allow the state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Office, or EEPO, to begin producing 187 megawatts of electricity from one of the 10 turbines installed at Africa’s tallest dam, he said by phone on Tuesday from Addis Ababa, the capital. The dam is 243 meters (797 feet) high.
“Gibe III will start power generation after the rainy season,” Alemayehu said. “It will be this year.”
The 1,870-megawatt capacity Gibe III is the latest of four large-scale Ethiopian dams built by the government since 2004 to supply nascent manufacturing industries and produce surplus electricity to sell to neighboring countries. Ethiopia is seeking to capitalize on its hydropower-generating capacity of 45,000 megawatts, which the World Bank ranks as Africa’s second-largest after the Democratic Republic of Cong
Paying for giant Nile dam itself, Ethiopia thwarts Egypt but takes risks
By Aaron Maasho
(Reuters) - Ethiopia's bold decision to pay for a huge dam itself has overturned generations of Egyptian control over the Nile's waters, and may help transform one of the world's poorest countries into a regional hydropower hub.
By spurning an offer from Cairo for help financing the project, Addis Ababa has ensured it controls the construction of the Renaissance Dam on a Nile tributary. The electricity it will generate - enough to power a giant rich-world city like New York - can be exported across a power-hungry region.
But the decision to fund the huge project itself also carries the risk of stifling private sector investment and restricting economic growth, and may jeopardize Ethiopia's dream of becoming a middle income country by 2025.
The dam is now a quarter built and Ethiopia says it will start producing its first 750 megawatts of electricity by the end of this year. In the sandy floor of the Guba valley, near the Sudanese border, engineers are laying compacted concrete to the foundations of the barrage that will tower 145 meters high and whose turbines will throw out 6,000 megawatts - more than any other hydropower project in Africa.
So far, Ethiopia has paid 27 billion birr ($1.5 billion) out of a total projected cost of 77 billion birr for the dam, which will create a lake 246 km (153 miles) long.
Egypt mulls international arbitration over Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Addis Ababa confirmed on Wednesday that it is ready to open talks with Cairo on its Renaissance Dam project, following news that Egypt has formed a special legal committee to look at the possibility of securing international arbitration over the issue of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam.
Talks between Ethiopia and Egypt broke down in January amid technical differences of opinion over the affect that the dam will have on Egypt’s share of Nile waters. Cairo claims that the construction of what will be Africa’s largest dam will have a significant effect on the flow of the Nile River, although Addis Ababa says that such fears are over-exaggerated.
Ethiopian Water Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said on Wednesday that the Addis Ababa government had “exerted utmost efforts to build trust among all riparian countries,” adding that “Egypt has continued to engage in negative campaigning against the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”