Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Power generation projects for GTP

In the beginning of the five year plan EEPCo announced that up to 10,000MW of new electric power will be produced by the end of 2015.
But which electric generation projects will produce the expected power? Before the end of the past budget year, the beginning of the GTP, the corporation planned to start close to six new hydro electric power projects, including wind and geothermal energy power.
Hydro Power
According to the corporation plan, Gibe III with 1870 MW production capacity, Halele Werabessa (422MW), Chemoga Yeda (254MW), Geba (272MW), Gibe IV (1470MW) and Genale Dawa III (254MW) are part of the projects expected to begin during the GTP. But excluding Gibe III and Genale Dawa, the other projects have not yet started although they have been awarded to a Chinese company.
Mihiret said that Gibe III and the first stage of Grand Renaissance (Hedasse) project, which started a year ago to generate 6000MW on the Blue Nile river basin are the major projects that are expected to produce part of the GTP electric power projection. He said that the first units of Hedasse will start power generation within 36 months and Gibe III will fully start power generation by September 2013. Genale Dawa also will start production 254MW during the end of the GTP.
Wind Farm
“Other wind farm projects like Aysah, Adama I and II, Assela and Ashegoda with total production of 724MW will be finished by the end of the GTP,” he explained.
“This and other new power generation projects will contribute to reach in a modest way to our target and other will commence in this period,” Mihiret added.  
On the other hand other two projects Geba and Halele Werabessa, are expected to get finance from Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank  respectively.
“For the project of Geba, the finance pledge is expected to be approved at the AfDB donors meeting which will be held recently; and Halele Werabessa, 220Km west of Addis that is the closest huge hydro power plant for the capital is in the process of being financed by the World Bank,” the CEO added.
Electric transmission, meter
The corporation also planned to outsource the transmission operation to a foreign company to ensure an international standard as well as to solve the problem of recurrent electric interruption that occurs with lack of management capacity.
The CEO said that the corporation will disclose the condition when the process finalizes. Currently the corporation is installing high volt transmission lines that have a capacity to transmit heavy power.
“Transmission sector development was a problem but to solve it the sector master plan is being developed by a foreign based company to test all transmission highways and replace them with a 765 thousand volt electric highway,” he said.
To solve the electric interruption and save power the corporation has already distributed five million energy saving light bulbs, which can save on average 56 MW and plan to import an additional ten million such bulbs, according to   Mihiret. In addition EEPCo is working with MetEC to replace the existing two million post and pre-paid electric meters with the new ‘smart’ meter, imported from India, at the cost of nine billion birr. According to the corporation head the replacement project that will allow EEPCo to save the power wastage will start in the near future.   
Based on the deal MetEC will replace the old, analogue meters that are read manually every three months with new, digital smart meters that automatically capture information about electricity consumption and transmit it back to EEPCo.
Smart Meters are different than pre-paid ones because they have real-time sensors, power outage notification capability and power quality monitoring, which utilizes two-way communication between the meter and the central system.
At the press conference the corporation official indicated that currently, MetEC has started the load test of ‘power factor corrector’ in selected industries. The two corporations have agreed to install this energy efficiency appliance at 5,000 factories. The device will allow the corporation to control power management of the industries and it will allow EEPCo to minimize frequent power interruption, as the corporation can manage power transmission based on demand.
“Up to 50 percent of industries are wasting power, but the new application has a significant role in managing the system,” the CEO said.
Energy Finance
EEPCo requires a whooping 182.2 billion birr for power generation, transmission and distribution system expansion in order to achieve objectives envisioned in the country’s five year governing economic plan, GTP that will be completed by 2015. From a total amount of envisioned budget, the biggest share of 122.8 billion birr will be committed to constructing dams and harnessing other power generation schemes such as geothermal, wind and solar powers.
The CEO said that the corporation is budgeting three billion dollars (42 billion birr) for projects every year in the GTP. From this total budget the electric generation projects consume 65 percent of the total cost. “In the coming five years after the GTP the corporation would consume 200 billion birr every year for projects,” he added.
Metal Corp takes over largest wind farm
The Ethiopian Metal Engineering Corporation (MetEC) will be in charge of the largest wind farm, Aysha, paying an undisclosed amount of money.
Mihiret Debebe, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) said that MetEC, the state owned engineering enterprise that is under the Ministry of Defence, will start the construction of Aysha in the coming budget year, although it was expected to begin last year. Aysha will produce 300MW when completed.
According to the CEO, various international financiers are involved in Aysha, located in Afar regional state close to the Djibouti border, the government is in search of loan providers at an interesting interest rate. 
“We are looking for a financier with a better option for the project,” a high official at the corporation told Capital.
The official said that Aysha is a highly feasible wind farm, and  the country’s largest and hence expected to attract international interest.
According to an EEPCo official, China and Germany are the major players.
Mihiret on his part said at a press conference, that the numbers of external financers’ who want to fund Ethiopian energy projects are growing.
“The sector’s growth and the potential of exporting power means global investors are interested,” Mihiret said.
According to the head, energy export is a viable source of collateral for external loan providers.
“For instance the Aysha project has attracted financers because of its proximity to the transmission line to Djibouti,” he explained.
The 120MW Ashegoda wind power plant and the 51MW Adama wind farm constructed by French and Chinese firms respectively are almost ready to start operation.
According to the CEO, Adama II and Assela, two other wind power projects that will produce 153 and 100 MW respectively are expected begin operation before the end of the GTP in three years.
MetEC will be the first company that manages such wind power endeavours if it constructs Aysha.