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Ethiopia will face 200 mega watts of energy shortage during the next year, according to a study by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation’s (EEPCo) Corporate Planning Department.
The department, in a study it presented to the board of EEPCo states that various measures should be taken before the power shortage hampers the operation of businesses again.
EEPCo has been struggling to cope with electric power shortage in the last couple of years by using different mechanisms, including the installation of more than 45 diesel generators, which costs the corporation over 100 million birr a month to operate.
According to the study, thermal power production from waste and decreasing power leakages will be major ways to cope with the shortage the country will face by next year.
According to our sources at the corporation, industries across the country are consuming more power than ever. “A company recently requested 300MW of power to start production; this is a huge requirement and we cannot handle the request at our current capacity,” these sources said.
The ever increasing number of new industries, as well as the expansion of investment activities in various parts of the country accompanied by low levels of rain during the main rainy season, have aggravated the problem.
“Many factories had been established and this had increased local demand for more electric power and the corporation is already exporting power to Djibouti and Sudan,” they said.
“Factories which utilize a lot of electric power such as steel, cement and textile have been established. Many new factories are being built and they need more energy,” the sources added.
The power demand of the country has been growing at an average rate of 25 percent per year during the last five years. The demand forecast for the next five years is estimated to be 32 percent per annum. The amount of power necessary to provide for this tremendous demand by the year 2015 is forecasted to be 10,000MW, significantly greater than the current output. The corporation currently has plants running with an installed generation capacity of 2097MW.
In the meantime, to narrow the gap of the current plan for the coming five years, it is necessary to initiate a number of energy development programmes. The generation development plan consists mainly of hydro projects. Generation from wind and geothermal power plants are foreseen to compliment the hydropower plants.
The Gibe III hydroelectric project, with 1,870MW of installed power generation capacity, could start generating power next year. The dam, situated along the lower course of the Omo River, is currently 69.4 percent completed. Gibe III Project Manager Azeb Asnake recently said that the corporation will undertake dry commissioning [testing without using water] of the dam this year. “We expect the dam to start generating power next year when the water reaches a certain level to generate power,” she said.