Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Sudan to be on Ethiopia’s grid

The 296 Km long and 230KV (kilovolts) Ethio-Sudan Transmission Line project, which costs USD 41 million, is set to be commissioned during the first quarter of 2012.
The project which started in 2008 and has three sections of transmission lines in Ethiopia: Bahir Dar-Gondar (137.2Km), Gondar-Shehedie (122Km) and Shehedie-Metema (37Km), is expected to connect with a transmission line in Sudan Gedaref city.
The project, financed by the World Bank, has an Iranian firm, SUNIR international, as substation contractor, while the transmission line contractor is ENEGROINVEST of Bosnia Herzegovina. The project consultant until December 2010 were HIFABOY of Finland and FITCHER of Germany. The Transmission and Engineering office of Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) has been undertaking the project consultancy and supervision work since 2011.
The project was supposed to be finalized in 2010 but due to financial sanctions on foreign payments imposed by the US on Iranian banks and other reasons related to the distribution line construction, the project has been delayed, according to sources.
The electricity to be sold to the Sudanese is still under discussion but it is expected to be up to 100 Mega watts (MW).
The Ethio-Sudan Transmission Line Project is part of Ethiopia’s plan of interconnecting East Africa through renewable and clean electric power and it’s also one of the projects for the development of East African Power Pool (EAPP).
This is not the first time such a transmission line is laid. On October 5, 2011 the 283 Km, 230 KV Ethio-Djibouti transmission line stretching from the eastern Ethiopian commercial city of Dire Dawa to Djibouti, began.
The governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti signed an agreement in November 2002 to implement the power interconnection project and subsequently the African Development Fund (AfDB) approved loans from a multinational group in 2004 amounting to USD 30.4 million for Ethiopia and 25.6 million for Djibouti.
The transmission line contractor for the entire project is Indian firm Kalpatatru Power Transmission Limited (KPTL) while the substation contractor for both countries is Siemens S.P.A.  
The project, on average exports, 35 MW of electricity to Djibouti, from 11:00 p.m to 7 a.m local time. Ethiopia earns USD 1.3 to 1.5 million per month from the export.  The project also benefits 12 Ethiopian border towns with nearly 10,000 customers.
Djibouti depends mainly on imported petroleum fuel for its power.  The unit cost of power production in Djibouti on average is four to five times higher than Ethiopia which predominantly depends on hydro electricity power.
The Ethio-Kenya power grid is also another project that is in the pipeline, with Ethiopia expected to export 400 MWs of Energy when the project is finalized.
Ethiopia is endowed with an aggregate potential capacity of 60,000 MW of which 45,000 MW is from Hydro electricity, above 10,000 MW is from wind and 5,000 MW from Geothermal. This has enabled Ethiopia to be a center for interconnecting East Africa through renewable and clean electric power systems.
This has lead to the establishment of EAPP (East African Power Pool) which includes east Africa power corridor interconnection projects; those being the Ethiopia-Kenya line, the Ethiopia-Sudan-Egypt and the Tanzania-Zambia-Kenya-Uganda line.