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The 51 Mega Watt (MW) Adama I wind power project located 95Km south east of Addis Ababa has become the first large scale wind power project to go fully operational in Ethiopia.
The project which cost USD 117 million, comes with funding from Chinese Export Import Bank (EXIM) and the Ethiopian government, 85 percent and 15 percent respectively.
Launched in June 2011 the project was constructed by two Chinese firms, Hydrochina Corporation and CGCOC Group Company. Hydrochina did the electromechanical work while CGCOC conducted foundation and civil works. There are 34 wind towers in the project with the ability to produce 1.5 MW of energy each. The consultancy work was done by the Addis Ababa University, Science and Technology Faculty. Misker Negash, Corporate Relations Head at the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) said that the 7Km long transmission line which can produce 33 kilo volts (KV) of electricity and a 4.5Km long transmission line which can produce132KV have been constructed in addition to a 12 KV distribution line which has started operation to help the power reach Ethiopian households.
“This project has witnessed the steady evolution of the capacity of local manpower as well as technology, and experience transfer,” said Misker adding that at peak time it had employed 900 temporary local workers and about 300 Chinese workers.
He also said currently the Adama I 51 MW wind power project, is producing 48 MW of energy but depending on the strength of wind gusting around it is expected to reach its maximum potential of 51 MW.
This project is part of the Ethiopian government’s plan to generate up to 890 MW of wind energy by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP)period.
Other projects the government of Ethiopia has planned or is currently constructing as per the GTP goals are the 120 MW Ashegoda wind farm project, the 300 MW Ayesha wind farm project, the 100 MW each Debre Berhan and Assela Wind farms and the Messebo/Harena wind farm project with a capacity to generate 51 MW and the 153 MW Adama II wind power project.
The stated tasks of these projects by the Ethiopian Government are to create a climate shock proof economy by the year 2025.